President Hu Jintao’s Speech at the Waseda University (2008)
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. 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 traveled a tortuous and difficult path in the course of development.
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.
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.
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.
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!