The 14th Beijing-Tokyo Forum, an annual event representing the highest public diplomatic communications platform between China and Japan, opened in Tokyo on Oct. 14.
Co-organized by the China International Publishing Group (CIPG) and the nonprofit Japanese think tank Genron NPO, this year's forum focuses on the theme of "Deepening mutual trust and cooperation, sharing responsibility for peace and development in Asia and the world, and exploring the practical significance of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan."
More than 100 guests from political, business, academic and media circles of the two countries held discussions on bilateral relations, political mutual trust, economic and trade cooperation, security assurance, media responsibility, innovation and other major issues.
Xu Lin, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and minister of the State Council Information Office (SCIO), and Yasuo Fukuda, former Japanese prime minister, attended the opening ceremony to deliver the keynote speech and the special speech respectively.
Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua, Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura, Vice President of CIPG Fang Zhenghui, and former United Nations Under-Secretary-General Yasushi Akashi also addressed the opening ceremony.
In his speech, Xu said President Xi Jinping had met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month, Premier Li Keqiang successfully visited Japan in May, and Prime Minister Abe would visit China soon. These exchanges of high-level visits chart the course and exert a strong impetus to the development of bilateral relations.
Xu said that this year is the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan as well as the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. These "two anniversaries" are rich in connotation and are closely interrelated, providing much inspiration for the two countries to adopt a good approach in fostering the bilateral relationship.
While stressing that peace, friendship and cooperation were three essential points in keeping the bilateral relationship on the right track, Xu explained in more detail that these three elements conformed to the common aspirations of the two peoples, served the two sides' common interests, and kept abreast of the trend of the times.
Xu suggested that the two countries draw lessons from history, keep bilateral relations on the right track, seek mutual trust and common ground, deepen practical cooperation, follow the principle of mutual benefit, and enhance mutual friendship between the two peoples.
Yasuo Fukuda said China played an important role in the formation of the existing international order. He called on the two countries to build future-oriented friendly relations on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the signing of their Treaty of Peace and Friendship.
Cheng said China-Japan relations were of vital importance to both sides. Particularly under the current situation, these relations were increasingly playing an important role in the peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world at large. He suggested the two sides deepen political mutual trust, properly manage differences, and strengthen exchanges and cooperation.
Yasutoshi Nishimura said mutual investment between Japan and China amounted to 1 trillion yen, and Japanese-funded enterprises and institutions in China currently numbered 30,000. The two countries were interdependent and indivisible in the economic field.
Fang said the 14 sessions of the Beijing-Tokyo Forum proved that extensive and in-depth people-to-people dialogues and exchanges were the foundation of China-Japan friendship. He hoped the distinguished guests of both sides would hold in-depth discussions on a series of important topics, including "the future of China-Japan relations," "a new type of Sino-Japanese economic and industrial cooperation," "the role China and Japan should play in achieving peace in northeast Asia," "the role and responsibility of Sino-Japanese media" and "Sino-Japanese cooperation in the digital economy sector."
Yasushi Akashi recalled in his speech the origin and development of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan. He said social welfare, health care, ageing society and global warming were common new tasks facing both China and Japan, and the two countries should make corresponding policies to achieve connectivity and co-participation in global issues.
Following the opening ceremony, under the chairmanship of Zhao Qizheng, former minister of SCIO, Wei Jianguo, former vice minister of commerce, Liu Hongcai, former deputy head of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Zhu Chenghu, member of the China Arm Control and Disarmament Association, Yoriko Kawaguchi, former minister of foreign affairs for Japan, and Shigeru Ishiba, a member of Japan's House of Representatives, held a discussion focusing on the theme of the forum.
Founded in 2005, the Beijing-Tokyo Forum is an annual large-scale international symposium aiming to provide a non-governmental exchange platform and improving China-Japan ties through public opinion polls and high-level dialogues. Currently, it has become the highest public diplomatic communication platform between China and Japan.