TOKYO, Apr. 18 (ChinaMil) -- The Sasakawa Peace Foundation hosted a reception to welcome a delegation of colonel-level officers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Tokyo on Tuesday.
The visit is part of the defense exchange jointly hosted by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, the Sasakawa Japan-China Friendship Fund and the China Institution for International Strategic Studies.
China and Japan have had exchange of visits by about 130 Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) officers and more than 200 Chinese PLA officers since the exchange program was launched in 2001. However, the mutual visits were suspended in February of 2012.
Yōhei Sasakawa, honorary president of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and chairman of the Nippon Foundation, said in his welcome speech that it is of great significance for the two countries to restart this defense exchange project again after six years' suspension, which is the result of great attention and active promotion of both sides.
He hopes this defense exchange will help further consolidate the upward trend of Japan-China relations and lead to expansion of such exchanges to more areas.
Major General Ci Guowei, head of the PLA delegation and deputy director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), said that this exchange of visits mechanism provides an important platform for the middle-aged and young military officers from the two countries to conduct communications.
The mechanism has played an important role in maintaining the continuity of China-Japan defense relations and has accumulated positive energy for the development of bilateral relations, he said.
The 25-member delegation arrived in Japan on April 15. During the 8-day visit, they will visit the National Diet Building, bases and military academies of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), hold exchange activities with JSDF officers, Japanese entrepreneurs and civil societies.