Chinese President Hu Jintao met separately with German President Horst Koehler and Japan-China Friendship Association Chairman Koichi Kato in Beijing on Sunday.
The meetings took place on the sidelines of the Beijing Paralympic Games, which just opened on Saturday night. President Koehler and Kato, who is former secretary-general of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), both attended the Games' grand opening ceremony.
While meeting with Koehler, Hu first welcomed his German counterpart to the Games and extended congratulations to German athletes on their "excellent performance" at the Beijing Olympic Games.
Chinese President Hu Jintao meets with German President Horst Koehler in Beijing, China, on Sept. 7, 2008. Horst Koehler attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games on Saturday night.
During the Aug. 8-24 Olympics, the German squad placed fifth on the gold medal table with 16 golds, and also grabbed 10 silvers and 15 bronzes.
Hu also took the opportunity to thank the German government and people for their support and assistance during the blizzard disaster and the Sichuan earthquake that struck China in the first half of the year.
Koehler said the Beijing Paralympics opening ceremony was superbly organized, and he was particularly impressed by Li Yue, a teenage amputee ballerina from the quake zone of Sichuan who performed at the ceremony.
It is important to pay attention to the long-term impact of disasters, and help those affected people rebuild their faith in life in the reconstruction process, said the German leader.
Both leaders agreed to further promote bilateral relations.
"The Sino-German relations have shown a sound momentum of development, thanks to concerted efforts by both sides," Hu said.
"Our economic and trade cooperation is growing robustly, and remarkable progress has been made in cultural, youth and legal exchanges and cooperation," said Hu. "We have maintained communication and cooperation in major international and regional affairs."
"Our countries share many common interests, and also face a lot of challenges," he added.
"China is ready to work with Germany to push for a long-term, stable and sound development of bilateral ties, on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and through enhancing dialogue, promoting mutual trust, deepening cooperation and properly handling differences," said the president.
Koehler responded that the German side attaches great importance to the cooperative relationship between the two countries.
The president commended China's accomplishments in various fields following three decades of reform and opening-up, and said that Germany hopes to share with China each other's experience in economic and social development, and work with China for world peace and development through more exchanges and dialogues.
Chinese President Hu Jintao meets with Koichi Kato, former secretary-general of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and chairman of the Japan-China Friendship Association, in Beijing, China, on Sept. 7, 2008. Kato attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games on Saturday night.
In his meeting with Kato, the Chinese president also welcomed the Japanese guest to the Paralympic Games, and congratulated him on assuming the position as chairman of the Japan-China Friendship Association.
He called Kato "a senior Japanese statesman" and also "an old friend of the Chinese people."
China highly appreciates Kato's contribution to the development of Sino-Japanese relations, said Hu, adding that Kato has long devoted himself to Sino-Japanese friendship and worked strenuously for restoring, improving and developing the Sino-Japanese relations.
The Chinese president also thanked the Japanese government and people of various circles for their support to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, and wished good results for Japanese Paralympians in Beijing.
He pointed out that China and Japan are both important countries in Asia and the world, thus shouldering the grave responsibility of maintaining regional and world peace and promoting common development.
To further consolidate and develop the Sino-Japanese strategic relations with mutual benefit is in line with the common interests of both countries and both peoples, and is conducive to peace, stability and prosperity of Asia and the world at large, he added.
China wants to work with Japan to lift the Sino-Japanese relations to a new level, through strengthening political dialogue, deepening mutually-beneficial cooperation and expanding people-to-people exchanges, Hu said.
The Chinese leader highlighted the important role played by the Japan-China Friendship Association in improving and developing bilateral ties, saying that the Sino-Japanese friendship is in essence the friendship between the Chinese and Japanese people.
The development of the Sino-Japanese friendship relies heavily on concerted efforts by the people of both countries, said Hu, expressing the hope that the Japan-China Friendship Association will make new contributions to the Sino-Japanese friendship.
Kato spoke highly of the Beijing Olympic Games, which he said have scored a complete success.
The opening ceremony of the Beijing Paralympic Games was equally grand and splendid, said Kato, who expressed the belief that both Games would be written into the history of mankind.
The Japan-China Friendship Association, which has dedicated itself to Japan-China friendship for nearly 60 years, will join hands with the Chinese side to help expand bilateral exchanges and cooperation in all areas and enhance friendship between the two peoples, so as to promote the sound and stable development of Japan-China relations, he said. Source: Xinhua