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Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008

Three decades of peace with China celebrated

Staff writer

The 30-year-old peace treaty between Japan and China plays a key role in Asian and global stability and development, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cui Tiankai said Tuesday in Tokyo.

Speaking at a reception at his embassy to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the 1978 peace treaty, Cui applauded both sides for their efforts to solidify and develop friendly relations.

"We have been building our bond over 30 years, and we must continue to expand our ties," he said.

The Treaty of Peace and Friendship was signed Aug. 12, 1978, in Beijing after Japan and China worked to mend relations ruptured by war.

The accord saw both countries agree on "relations of perpetual peace and friendship" and pledge not to "seek hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region."

"The treaty was signed during the Cold War era. It effectively helped build the foundation of an enduring peaceful relationship between China and Japan," Cui said.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, whose late father, Takeo, was prime minister when the treaty was signed, also greeted the occasion.

Japan and China "have overcome various ordeals in the years as neighboring countries," he said in a statement, expressing hope that bilateral relations continue strong.

Retired Diet member Tenkoko Sonoda, whose husband, Foreign Minister Sunao Sonoda, signed the treaty in Beijing 30 years ago, said the pact forms the foundation for today's relationship.

"My late husband is probably sharing a toast with (the late) Deng Xiaoping somewhere," the 89-year-old Sonoda told The Japan Times at the reception.

"Japan and China must continue to face each other with sincerity. That was my husband's will," she said, noting the bilateral alliance is essential in sustaining peace not only in Asia but worldwide.

Commemorative stamps celebrating the occasion went on sale Tuesday.

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The Japan Times

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