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Chinese President Jiang Zemin reiterated Friday evening in a speech at a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi that Japan inflicted tremendous damage on the Chinese people during World War II.

Jiang, however, praised Japan’s pacifism after the war and expressed hope that this stance will be maintained for the peace and prosperity of Asia and the entire world. “For 50 years from the end of the last century to the middle of this century, Japanese militarism led to aggression on China and caused tremendous damage to the Chinese people,” Jiang said in the speech.

He said that the two countries can establish for the first time a long lasting friendship by preventing a recurrence of the tragedy, by learning from the past.

China, the largest developing nation, is making efforts to modernize itself, and its development will enhance peace, Jiang said. China is promoting peace seeking diplomacy and is placing importance on establishing long-term and stable relations with countries in Asia and the world, Jiang said.

This is Jiang’s second dinner with Obuchi during his six-day state visit to Japan that started Wednesday. It was attended by 87 people, including Japanese political leaders and Chinese ministers.

Jiang said that Japan chose to promote peace after World War II and achieved tremendous economic development.

Maintaining such an attitude will benefit Japan and will be beneficial for the peace and prosperity of Asia and the world, Jiang said.

Obuchi did not mention the history issue in his dinner speech.

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