BEIJING -- Chinese President Hu Jintao met here on Sunday with Koichi Kato, former secretary-general of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and chairman of the Japan-China Friendship Association, who attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Paralympic Games on Saturday night.
Koichi Kato (L), an official of Japan`s Liberal Democratic Party, shakes hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 7, 2008. [Agencies]
Hu first welcomed Kato to the Paralympic Games, and congratulated the guest on assuming the position as chairman of the Japan-China Friendship Association.
Hu 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.
Hu 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, he 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.
During the meeting, Kato spoke highly of the Beijing Olympic Games staged from August 8 to 24, saying that the Games 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 will 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, said Kato.