Speech by Chinese President Hu Jintao at Waseda University
2008/07/20

 

Respected Mr. Katsuhiko Shirai, President of Waseda University,

Respected Mr. Yohei Kono,

Dear Faculty Members and Students,

Dear Friends,

Let me begin by thanking you, Mr. Katsuhiko Shirai, for your kind invitation. I am pleased to have the opportunity to come to Waseda to meet young friends and teachers of this renowned university. I would like to express, on behalf of the Chinese people, warm greetings and best wishes to all friends present and the Japanese people.

Waseda University, which is familiar to the Chinese people, has a long relationship with China. Back in the early 20th century, Waseda University admitted thousands of Chinese students. People who had a major impact on China's modern history like Liao Zhongkai, Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu and Peng Pai studied in this institution. Today, Waseda University has good relations and extensive academic exchanges with many Chinese universities and research institutions and plays an active role in promoting people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Standing here, I cannot help recalling several Japanese friends I know. They are Mr. Noburu Takeshita, Mr. Toshiki Kaifu, Mr. Keizo Obuchi, Mr. Yoshiro Mori, Mr. Yasuo Fukuda and Mr. Yohei Kono. They are all alumni of Waseda University who have contributed to the development of Japan and its friendship with China. On the 125th anniversary of Waseda University last year, Waseda University set the goal to build "an international university that trains people for the whole world" and "an open university meeting the challenges of the 21st century". This meets the needs of our times. I sincerely hope that Waseda will produce more talent and contribute further to the social and economic development of Japan and the cause of human progress.

China and Japan are close neighbors facing each other across a narrow strip of water. Our bilateral relations, which are now at a new historical starting point, have new opportunities to grow further. I have come to Japan with the warm feelings of the Chinese people for the Japanese people and the sincere aspiration of the Chinese people to grow China-Japan relations. The government and people of China sincerely wish to work with the government and people of Japan to increase mutual trust, enhance friendship, deepen cooperation, plan for the future and take the all-round growth of the strategic relationship of mutual benefit between China and Japan to a new level.

Dear Faculty Members and Students,

Dear Friends,

"All roads in the world lead to Waseda." This is a well-known saying in Waseda University. In order to promote the long-term, healthy and steady growth of Sino-Japanese relations and pass on friendship from generation to generation, we need to increase mutual understanding between our peoples. Here, I would like to speak to you about China's past and its present. I hope this will help you gain a better understanding of China.

China is a country with a time-honored history. It is also a country that is undergoing profound changes. In the 5,000-year-long history of its civilization, the industrious and talented Chinese people, with dynamism and creativity and in an unyielding spirit of self-improvement, have created the splendid Chinese civilization and contributed significantly to the progress of human civilization. China has also travelled a tortuous and difficult path in the course of development. In particular, after the Opium War in 1840, China endured many trials and tribulations because of the decadent and declining rule of feudalism and the ravaging aggression of imperialist powers. The Chinese people rose up and fought courageously and unyieldingly to rid themselves of humiliation, poverty and backwardness and realize national rejuvenation. The 1911 Revolution overthrew the feudal autocracy which had ruled China for several thousand years. After the Revolution, China's course of development can be generally divided into three stages.

From 1911 to 1949, the Chinese people succeeded in winning independence and liberation after protracted and hard struggle and founded New China in which people became their own masters, laying the foundation for China's development and prosperity. From 1949 to 1978, China established the socialist system, making the most profound social changes in its history, and the Chinese people made phenomenal progress in national development through unremitting efforts. Since 1978, the Chinese people have resolutely embarked upon a path of reform and opening-up, and started a new great revolution under the new circumstances.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the reform and opening-up policy in China. It is a year of special significance for China and for the Chinese people. Over the past 30 years, China has successfully made the historical transition from a highly centralized planned economy to a robust socialist market economy, and from a closed and semi-closed country to a country that is wide open to the outside world. China's economy, once ranked eleventh on the globe, has grown into the world's fourth largest. China has become the third biggest trading nation in the world. The Chinese people, once lacking basic living necessities, are now enjoying initial prosperity. Historic changes have taken place in China.

If a country or nation is to develop itself in this increasingly competitive world, it must be determined to carry out reform, boost development, persist in opening up, put people first and promote harmony. This is the conclusion we have drawn in the great cause of reform and opening-up.

To be determined to carry out reform means that we should advance with the times and make bold changes and innovations. We should resolutely break with all ideas and mindsets that hamper development, change all regulations and practices that impede development, and remove all institutional barriers that hinder development, so as to provide strong impetus to social progress.

To boost development means that we should regard development as our top priority at all times. We should pursue development in a scientific way, appreciate the law of development, make innovations in our development outlook, change the development mode and resolve difficult issues in the course of development. We should keep releasing and developing the productive forces to achieve sound and rapid economic development.

To persist in opening up means that we should open our doors to pursue development. We should conduct economic and technological cooperation with all countries on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win outcome, and draw upon all achievements of human civilization. We should develop ourselves by upholding world peace and contribute to world peace by developing ourselves.

To put people first means that we should ensure that development is for the people, by the people and with the people sharing its fruits. We must respect the principal role of the people, give play to their creativity, be responsive to people's aspirations, and give top priority to serving people's interests. We need to continue to improve the material and cultural life of our people and ensure their all-round development.

To promote harmony means that we should spare no effort to solve the most specific problems of the utmost and immediate concern to the people. We should focus on promoting social equity and justice, enhance the creativity of the society, and do our utmost to increase factors of harmony and reduce factors of disharmony, so as to ensure the well-being and happiness of the people, law and order in the society and enduring peace and stability of the country.

"If one day there may be a renovation, then every day there may be, indeed, daily there must be." "As Heaven keeps vigor through movement, a gentleman should unremittingly practice self-improvement." The ancient Chinese philosophers put forward these important thoughts from their observation of the universe. These maxims reveal the perseverance and resilience of the Chinese nation and have inspired people for thousands of years. The values cherished by the Chinese people today are shaped by their rich experience in the modern world. They also stem from the profound traditions of the Chinese civilization. They are a great source of strength and inspiration for the Chinese people to keep abreast with the time through transformation and innovation.

A solid conclusion has been drawn from China's reform and opening-up process, that is, the rapid development of China in the past 30 years is attributed to reform and opening-up, and China's future development will also have to rely on reform and opening-up. Reform and opening-up is a key decision that has shaped modern China. It is also a choice made by the entire 1.3 billion Chinese people.

In spite of the unprecedented achievements, we are soberly aware that China remains the world's largest developing country, with a large population, weak economic foundation, uneven development, and challenges of unparalleled magnitude and complexity. There is still a long way to go before all of the over one billion Chinese people can enjoy greater prosperity in a modernized country. We have to work hard for a long time to achieve it.

China is committed to socialism with distinctive Chinese features. We will continue to follow the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of "Three Represents", fully apply the Scientific Outlook on Development, and work to balance urban and rural development, development among regions, economic and social development, relations between man and nature, and domestic development and opening to the outside world. We now give higher priority to issues affecting people's livelihood, to balanced development, and to economic growth, political improvement, and cultural and social progress. We will work hard to build a thriving, prosperous and environmentally sound society.

China is firmly committed to peaceful development. This is a strategic choice the Chinese Government and people have made in light of China's national conditions and the trend of the times. It reflects the unity of China's domestic and foreign policies and the unity of the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and the common interests of the people of the world. It holds the key to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We firmly pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and a win-win strategy of opening-up. We promote democracy in international relations, advance economic globalization in the direction of balanced development, shared benefits and win-win progress, facilitate exchanges among civilizations and protect the Earth, the place we call home. We share development opportunities with other countries and work with them to meet challenges and build a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity. China's national defence policy is defensive in nature. China will never engage in arms race or pose a military threat to any country. We will never seek hegemony or expansion.

Dear Faculty Members and Students,

Dear Friends,

The Chinese people and the Japanese people have engaged in friendly exchanges for over 2,000 years. Our ties stand out as a miracle in the world history of exchanges among nations. In the long course of history, the people of China and Japan have learned from each other and interacted with each other. Such exchanges have not only contributed to our respective national development, but also enriched the East Asian and world civilizations.

In modern times, our friendly relations were devastated by the war of aggression the Japanese militarists waged against China. This unfortunate chapter of history inflicted untold sufferings on the Chinese nation and also brought misery to the Japanese people. History is a textbook rich in philosophical wisdom. We stress the importance of remembering history, not to perpetuate hatred, but rather to take history as a mirror, look forward, and cherish and uphold peace, so that the people of China and Japan will always live in friendship and the people of the world will always enjoy peace.

China and Japan achieved normalization of diplomatic relations in 1972, opening a new chapter of bilateral ties. Since then, China-Japan relations have come a long way. Two-way trade increased from 1.1 billion dollars when the two countries normalized relations to 236 billion dollars last year. By the end of last year, there were 236 pairs of sister cities between our two countries and 5.44 million mutual visits were made in last year alone. The improvement and growth of China-Japan relations have brought tangible benefits to our two countries and two peoples, and greatly contributed to peace and development in Asia and beyond.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship. As we remind ourselves of the historical significance of the Treaty and pay tribute to the old generation of leaders and visionary people from all sectors who have worked painstakingly for the growth of China-Japan friendship, we cherish even more the hard-won friendship and cooperation between us.

We are at a new starting point, facing new opportunities to take our relations forward. As economic globalization gathers momentum, the common interests between China and Japan are increasing, our cooperation is expanding and our responsibilities in international and regional affairs are becoming greater. Yesterday, I had fruitful talks with Prime Minister Fukuda. We reached extensive agreement on deepening our strategic relationship of mutual benefit in an all-round way and laid the general framework for the long-term, healthy and stable development of bilateral relations. We agreed that China and Japan should work together to increase strategic mutual trust, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges, promote the rejuvenation of Asia, tackle global challenges and advance our strategic relationship of mutual benefit. Let me share with you my observations in this regard.

First, increase strategic mutual trust. People become friends when they trust each other. Countries enjoy stable relations when they trust each other. China and Japan are both important countries in Asia and the world. We should appreciate and see each other's development in an objective and sensible way and regard each other as partners of win-win cooperation, not competitors in a zero-sum game. We should support each other's peaceful development and see each other's development as an opportunity, not a threat. We should respect each other's major concerns and core interests and resolve differences through dialogue and consultation.

Second, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation. As each other's most important trading partners, China and Japan should cherish the sound environment of business cooperation that has been nurtured over the years and make the most of their strong economic complementarity and enormous cooperation potential. We should strengthen cooperation in such key areas as energy conservation, environmental protection, finance, information and intellectual property rights protection to elevate our business cooperation to a new high and solidify the material basis of our bilateral relations.

Third, promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges. People-to-people exchanges serve as a bridge for the two peoples to deepen mutual understanding, while cultural exchanges provide a channel for the two peoples to enhance friendship. We should make persistent efforts in carrying out these exchanges and set up a long-term mechanism for youth exchange so as to strengthen the public support for a longstanding China-Japan friendship.

Fourth, promote Asian rejuvenation. Asian rejuvenation cannot be achieved without the cooperation and coordination of China and Japan. We are ready to work with Japan and other Asian countries to promote regional and sub-regional cooperation of various forms, enhance common security, uphold peace and stability in Northeast Asia, advance East Asia cooperation and the development of the East Asia community, and achieve our common development in the course of promoting Asian rejuvenation.

Fifth, work together to meet global challenges. We face increasing common challenges in today's world, including terrorism, climate change, energy security, food security, financial risks, severe natural disasters, major epidemics and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These challenges affect all countries' development and stability, and require joint responses. China is ready to work with Japan to actively participate in the international cooperation in these fields, strengthen our capacity to manage these challenges through coordination and make joint contribution to the noble cause of peace and development of mankind.

Dear Faculty Members and Students,

Dear Friends,

China-Japan friendship is the common cause of the two peoples and its growth requires the unremitting efforts of both sides. Through my extensive contact with the Japanese people, I have felt strongly the profound public support for China-Japan friendship here. Over the years, people from various sectors and friendship organizations of Japan have made active efforts to promote exchanges between the two countries. Friendship and cooperation have remained the mainstream of our relationship. The Japanese Government has played a positive role in China's modernization drive by making Japanese yen loans in support of China's infrastructure construction, environmental protection, energy development and scientific and technological advancement. In addition, Japanese friends from various sectors offered warm-hearted help to China in its course of modernization. The Chinese people will always remember those Japanese friends who have devoted themselves to China-Japan friendship.

The people of Japan are hardworking and talented. They are good at learning and making innovations. As early as 1400 years ago, Japan sent envoys to China on more than 20 occasions in the Sui and Tang dynasties. They introduced China's institutions, decrees and regulations together with Buddhism, Chinese characters and technologies into Japan and applied them in the light of local conditions, leading to the formation of the unique Japanese culture. After the Meiji Restoration, the Japanese people worked hard to absorb the advanced achievements of world civilization and gradually developed Japan into the first modernized country in Asia. People of Japan have made remarkable achievements with limited land and natural resources. Japan now leads the world in manufacturing, information, finance and logistics and has an edge in the technologies of energy conservation and environmental protection. These are a source of pride for the Japanese people, and worth learning by the Chinese people too.

Here I wish to say a few words to the young friends of our two countries. Mr. Li Dazhao, who studied in this university, once said, young people should work to advance world civilization, promote mankind's well-being and inject fresh vigor into human society. The youth of our two countries are the new force for China-Japan friendship, and the future of this friendship relies on you. Youth affairs have long been part of my portfolio and I have thus developed a special attachment to young people. I enjoy being with young friends as I get to feel their vigor of youth and passion for life. In 1984, the Chinese Government invited 3,000 Japanese young people to China for a series of friendship activities between the young people of the two countries. I attended the whole event, spent days with these Japanese young people and established a deep friendship with them. Last June, we invited those Japanese friends who participated in the 1984 tour back to China. As we met each other again, we were overwhelmed by a flood of fond memories. I said in the address, "Time may change our look, but will never change our friendship." I learned from this experience that friendship fostered in the youth years will be our lifelong company. We must work jointly to sow the seeds of China-Japan friendship and make our friendship last from generation to generation.

This year is the China-Japan Youth Friendly Exchange Year. The two sides will host a wide range of activities of friendly exchanges. Here I would like to announce that the Chinese Government has decided to invite 100 Waseda University students to visit China. I hope that the students present today can join this program and come to see China.

Dear Faculty Members and Students,

Dear Friends,

In another three months, the 29th Summer Olympic Games will be held in Beijing. Prime Minister Fukuda shared with me the fond memories of the Japanese people of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964 and I fully understood how they felt. The Chinese people sincerely hope to stage a successful Beijing Olympic Games. By putting forward the slogan of "One World, One Dream", we aim to spread the Olympic spirit of solidarity, friendship and peace and promote mutual understanding and friendship among people of the world through the Beijing Olympic Games. I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Japanese Government and people from various sectors for your support in our preparations for the Beijing Olympic Games. I welcome our Japanese friends to Beijing to watch the Games and wish the Japanese athletes all the best at the Games.

Dear Faculty Members and Students,

Dear Friends,

On the front arch of the Waseda Theater Museum carved a famous line of William Shakespeare-All the world is a stage. Of all the plays that have been put on the big world stage, the people in the world have always acted the leading roles. I sincerely hope that people of China and Japan will stand hand-in-hand and shoulder-to-shoulder on the big stage for China-Japan cooperation, Asian rejuvenation and world peace and development to jointly create an even brighter future for China-Japan relations and for the whole world!

Thank you.

 

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