Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a Japan-China friendship organization paper that Japan would promote exchanges with China in 2007 to build strategic bilateral ties for mutual benefit.
Next year marks the 35th anniversary of normalization of the Japan-China diplomatic relations, Abe said in a New Year address published Saturday in the organ paper of the Japan-China Friendship Association.
He noted that efforts would be made to boost the bilateral relations to a new level through activities surrounding "the cultural and sports exchange year."
"The destination of my first foreign visit as prime minister was China," Abe said in the paper named "Japan and China". The realization of the visit means that "both countries value the relations and acknowledge the necessity of frank dialogue and exchanges."
Abe also mentioned his later meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Hanoi, Vietnam, in which they reached agreement in promoting exchanges. Such dialogues and exchanges will be a great help for future relations, he said.
Since the normalization of the Japan-China diplomatic ties in 1972, the two neighbors have established unprecedented ties in economic areas and personnel exchange, he said in the address.
Over 1,000 high school students from either country visited the other in 2006. The exchange between the youths, who carry the responsibilities for future, is very important for the development of bilateral ties and he would endeavor to offer support, the premier added.