Respected Mr. Katsuhiko Shirai, President of Waseda University,
Respected Mr. Yohei Kono,
Dear faculty members and students,
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. People who had a major impact on China's modern history like Liao Zhongkai, Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu and Peng Pai studied in this institution. Today, Waseda University has good relations and extensive academic exchanges with many Chinese universities and research institutions and plays an active role in promoting people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Standing here, I cannot help recalling several Japanese friends I know. They are Mr. Noburu Takeshita, Mr. Toshiki Kaifu, Mr. Keizo Obuchi, Mr. Yoshiro Mori, Mr. Yasuo Fukuda and Mr. Yohei Kono. They are all alumni of Waseda University who have contributed to the development of Japan and its friendship with China. On the 125th anniversary of Waseda University last year, Waseda University set the goal to build "an international university that trains people for the whole world" and "an open university meeting the challenges of the 21st century." This meets the needs of our times. I sincerely hope that Waseda will produce more talent and contribute further to the social and economic development of Japan and the cause of human progress.
China and Japan are close neighbors facing each other across a narrow strip of water. Our bilateral relations, which are now at a new historical starting point, have new opportunities to grow further. I have come to Japan with the warm feelings of the Chinese people for the Japanese people and the sincere aspiration of the Chinese people to grow China-Japan relations. The government and people of China sincerely wish to work with the government and people of Japan to increase mutual trust, enhance friendship, deepen cooperation, plan for the future and take the all-round growth of the strategic relationship of mutual benefit between China and Japan to a new level.
Dear faculty members and students,
"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. In particular, after the Opium War in 1840, China endured many trials and tribulations because of the decadent and declining rule of feudalism and the ravaging aggression of imperialist powers. The Chinese people rose up and fought courageously and unyieldingly to rid themselves of humiliation, poverty and backwardness and realize national rejuvenation. The 1911 Revolution overthrew the feudal autocracy which had ruled China for several thousand years. After the Revolution, China's course of development can be generally divided into three stages.
From 1911 to 1949, the Chinese people succeeded in winning independence and liberation after protracted and hard struggle and founded New China in which people became their own masters, laying the foundation for China's development and prosperity. From 1949 to 1978, China established the socialist system, making the most profound social changes in its history, and the Chinese people made phenomenal progress in national development through unremitting efforts. Since 1978, the Chinese people have resolutely embarked upon a path of reform and opening-up, and started a new great revolution under the new circumstances.