development among regions, economic and social development, relations between man and nature, and domestic development and opening to the outside world. We now give higher priority to issues affecting people's livelihood, to balanced development, and to economic growth, political improvement, and cultural and social progress. We will work hard to build a thriving, prosperous and environmentally sound society.
China is firmly committed to peaceful development. This is a strategic choice the Chinese Government and people have made in light of China's national conditions and the trend of the times. It reflects the unity of China's domestic and foreign policies and the unity of the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and the common interests of the people of the world. It holds the key to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We firmly pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and a win-win strategy of opening-up. We promote democracy in international relations, advance economic globalization in the direction of balanced development, shared benefits and win-win progress, facilitate exchanges among civilizations and protect the Earth, the place we call home. We share development opportunities with other countries and work with them to meet challenges and build a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity. China's national defense policy is defensive in nature. China will never engage in arms race or pose a military threat to any country. We will never seek hegemony or expansion.
Dear faculty members and students,
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 when the two countries normalized relations to $236 billion 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