Steps urged to help avoid new conflict

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China and Japan need to control the negative issues that may spiral into crisis, said Chinese and Japanese scholars, journalists and politicians in Tokyo on Tuesday.

In a speech at the opening ceremony of the 12th Beijing-Tokyo Forum, Tang Jiaxuan, president of the China-Japan Friendship Association, recommended that the two countries manage their differences well and prevent new problems from arising in the relations.

Japan has interfered in the South China Sea, which China takes as an attempt to create a new issue in the bilateral relations.

Tang said the ties, which have been disturbed by various issues, have not completely returned to a normal track. "The unhealthy state holds up the cooperation between China and Japan, slows the progress of integration in East Asia, and has an impact on peace and stability in the region."

Japan's former prime minister Yasuo Fukuda said China and Japan need to create a "quiet" environment to let their people make calm judgments.

"The two countries should not provoke each other. Cooperation and exchange can help create friendly sentiment between the two peoples," he said.

President Xi Jinping, while meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou on Sept 5, said bilateral relations have entered a key phase in which no progress means regression.

China values its ties with the Asian neighbor and hopes to move the relations forward, Tang said.

A recent opinion poll jointly conducted by the China International Publishing Group and Japan's think tank Genron NPO found that a majority of people in the two countries have a negative impression of the other's nation.

Jiang Jianguo, minister of the State Council Information Office, said the sentiments between the two peoples should merit attention.

Jiang said he was impressed by Chinese and Japanese media's coverage of the other country's athletes at the Rio Olympics in August.

Japanese Olympian Ai Fukuhara, who lost the table tennis semifinal to Chinese rival Li Xiaoxia, became a media darling in China. Also, the gold medal performance of Chinese women's national volleyball team in Rio was widely covered by Japan's media.

The State Council Information Office will begin inviting 80 young Japanese journalists to China each year, Jiang said. It has sent young Chinese journalists to visit Japan each year since 2010.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the two countries should have talks and exchanges at all levels.

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