Sunday, October 25, 2015

China, Japan seek to improve ties through public diplomacy

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The eleventh Beijing-Tokyo forum has kicked off in China's capital city. The forum is considered as a platform to bridge the differences between the two countries and aims to boost bilateral ties. Participants have great expectations for the forum.

The goal is crystal clear-- to improve relations through people-to-people ties. Both sides in this year's Beijing-Tokyo Forum are calling for a rebound in bilateral relations and a bigger role for the forum.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is attending his fifth forum. Fukuda says his biggest wish is for improved ties between the two countries.

"People today don't understand history well, whether it's their own or others. It's an irresponsible attitude. How can we solve problems under such conditions? To be frank, I don't think the current situation between China and Japan could or should continue in the long run. People of the two countries should open their hearts, establish a new sense of common purpose, and try their best to promote relations," Fukuda said.

The gathering follows the release of a joint public opinion survey by China's International Publishing Group and Japan's Genron NPO. The survey shows that an overwhelming 80 percent of citizens from both countries feel negatively about their neighbors.

But the survey also shows that relations are improving slightly.

The percentage of people who feel negatively about the other country is slowly declining, from a high point of over 90 percent in 2013.

Sino-Japanese relations have worsened since late 2012 when Japan unilaterally nationalized the Diaoyu Islands.

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