Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday met with a Japanese youth delegation, and called for more youth understanding and exchanges between China and Japan.
"Chinese and Japanese young people should deepen their friendship to ensure a bright future for China-Japan friendship in the generations to come," Hu told the delegation, which is composed of descendants and representatives of the Japanese participants of the largest-ever Japan-China youth gathering in 1984 as well as several Japanese dietmen and staff from friendship organizations.
"This is a significant moment. Japanese guests are visiting China again after 23 years to breathe new life into their traditional friendship, because the year of 2007 marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations," said the president, who took part in the previous grand gathering as chairman of the All-China Youth Federation.
"We welcome ever larger numbers of young people in the circle of China-Japan eternal friendship," Hu said, voicing the hope that friendly associations from both countries will deepen understanding between China and Japan.
In the fall of 1984, 3,000 Japanese young people visited China, the largest foreign group China had ever received. The event was described as unprecedented in the history of China-Japan friendship.
"China-Japan relationship is improving and this development should be cherished," Hu said.
Using history as a mirror and looking toward the future, China and Japan should implement the consensus reached by both sides to enhance coordination and cooperation from three perspectives, namely bilaterally, regionally and globally, Hu said.
Yasuhiro Nakasone, former Japanese prime minister who led the current 200-odd member delegation, extended thanks for the warm welcome from the Chinese government and people during the delegation's one-week trip to China's financial hub Shanghai, northwestern province of Gansu and the Chinese capital Beijing.
During the trip, the delegates recognized the sincere hope of Chinese people to develop friendship and cooperation with Japan, Nakasone said, adding the delegation will take back with them a stronger sense of the genuine friendship between China and Japan.
The delegation is scheduled to have the visit from June 14 to 20 as part of the two countries' efforts to carry on their friendship from generation to generation.
The visit is also part of the activities celebrating the 2007 China-Japan Culture and Sports Year.
Japan and China are both important countries in the world, and friendly relations between them are essential to the peaceful development in Asia, Nakasone said.
"It is our joint responsibility to push forward bilateral relations," said Nakasone.