A conference on friendly exchanges between China and Japan is being planned this year to mark the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, according to a senior official for public diplomacy.
Song Jingwu, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and vice-president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said the conference is planned to be held in Japan.
It will be attended by figures from both countries and officials from China-Japan sister cities to discuss friendly cooperation between the two countries.
The conference is part of events planned by the association to mark the landmark treaty signed in 1978.
Song’s association is one of China’s leading agencies working to boost public diplomacy, and he has long worked on promoting people-to-people ties with Japan.
He said the association is also planning a number of bilateral exchanges involving young people, entrepreneurs and legislators.
Many other Chinese associations plan exchanges with their Japanese counterparts, and ties among think tanks from the two nations are close, Song said.
He said China-Japan ties are currently undergoing some positive, forward-looking changes.
Last year, leaders of both countries met, which has played an important role in boosting China-Japan relations, Song said.
“It is believed that with the joint efforts of the leaders of both countries, the two governments will continue working on promoting bilateral relations,” he said.
Song also stressed the role of further reinforcing contacts between young people of the two nations, recalling a landmark large-scale youth exchange held by the two countries in the 1980s. During the exchange, around 3,000 young Japanese visited China and 3,000 Chinese youths visited Japan.
A host of Japanese political heavyweights and senior officials who made headlines in recent years have said they were members of the exchange.
Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua and his wife were also part of that exchange, and now they have become participants in promoting China-Japan friendship and bilateral relations, Song noted.
Many young Japanese, after visiting China, wrote letters to the association or to the Chinese embassy in Japan, saying that their trips to China, although just a few days long, changed their ideas and views on China, Song said.
He said he hopes the bilateral youth exchange could be further strengthened and expanded to ensure that the friendship could be handed down to future generations.