Thursday, January 8, 2015

The New Year in Asia

Photo by Kami Ryosuke, December 2014
Haiku by Egawa Tan'nan
Villages are still in the pall of the night, while the summit of Fuji now foretells the approach of a new dawn  

Every year begins with many hopeful words 

THE VATICAN: No Longer Slaves, But Brothers And Sisters Message of HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS For The Celebration of the World Day Of Peace.
     I invite everyone, in accordance with his or her specific role and responsibilities, to practice acts of fraternity towards those kept in a state of enslavement. Let us ask ourselves, as individuals and as communities, whether we feel challenged when, in our daily lives, we meet or deal with persons who could be victims of human trafficking, or when we are tempted to select items which may well have been produced by exploiting others. Some of us, out of indifference, or financial reasons, or because we are caught up in our daily concerns, close our eyes to this. Others, however, decide to do something about it, to join civic associations or to practice small, everyday gestures – which have so much merit! – such as offering a kind word, a greeting or a smile. These cost us nothing but they can offer hope, open doors, and change the life of another person who lives clandestinely; they can also change our own lives with respect to this reality.

CHINA: CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING'S 2015 NEW YEAR SPEECH.
     The New Year bell is about to ring. We will continue our efforts to act upon people’s expectations and turn their aspirations into reality. We will continue to deepen the reform in an all-round way. This is an unstoppable train. Only those who brave hardships would prevail. We will push forward the rule of law in an all-round way, safeguard the rights of people in line with law, maintain social justice and promote national development. For an eventual accomplishment of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way in due time, both deepening the reforms and strengthening the rule of law should function as the two wings of a bird, or as wheels on both sides of a vehicle.

JAPAN: His Majesty the Emperor's New Year Thoughts 2015
      Last year many lives were lost to natural disasters such as heavy snow, torrential rains, and the volcanic eruption of Mt. Ontake, and my thoughts go out to those who lost their loved ones and their homes in those disasters.
     This is the fourth winter since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and it pains me to think that there are still so many people who cannot return to the places they used to live because of radioactive contamination and so many who face the prospect of a cold, harsh winter in temporary housing. These conditions have made me reflect on the importance of people becoming concerned about and involved in disaster prevention in their respective regions and being prepared to protect their own localities.
     This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, which cost many people their lives. Those who died on the battlefields, those who died in the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, those who died in the air raids on Tokyo and other cities-so many people lost their lives in this war. I think it is most important for us to take this opportunity to study and learn from the history of this war, starting with the Manchurian Incident of 1931, as we consider the future direction of our country.
     It is my sincere hope that the new year will bring happiness to the people of our country and the people around the world.


JAPAN: NEW YEAR’S REFLECTION BY PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE.
     The Japanese people had resolutely risen to their feet from a devastated land after the war. This was the era in which Japan, having successfully concluded the Tokyo Olympics, was beginning to regain its confidence that it could play an active role on the world’s center stage. There is no doubt that these words of Coach Daimatsu, filled with determination, greatly inspired the Japanese people of that era.
     Our predecessors accomplished rapid economic growth, making Japan one of the greatest powers in the world. There is no reason whatsoever that the Japanese of that era could achieve this but the Japanese of today cannot.
     Over these 70 years, Japan has earnestly built up a free and democratic nation while feeling deep remorse regarding World War II. We have also made our greatest possible contributions in order to bring about the peace and development of our friends in Asia and around the world. Taking pride in this, as we head towards the 80th, 90th, and 100th anniversaries to come, Japan must make still greater contributions towards world peace and stability under the flag of “Proactive Contribution to Peace.” In this milestone anniversary year, I intend to send out to the world the message of our clear resolve regarding this.

China’s reaction: We have taken note of Japanese leaders’ relevant remarks. Only by honestly facing up to history can Japan have a future.
Jen Psaki, Spokesperson US State Dept., Daily Press Briefing, Washington, DC, January 5, 2015
     We did see President – Prime Minister Abe’s remarks. As you know and we’ve stated many times from here, the apologies – our view is that the apologies extended by previous Prime Minister Murayama and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono marked important chapters in Japan’s efforts to improve relations with its neighbors. As we’ve indicated many times, we encourage Japan to continue to work with its neighbors to resolve concerns over history in an amicable way through dialogue.

MONGOLIA: NEW YEAR ADDRESS TO THE NATION OF TSAKHIAGIIN ELBEGDORJ PRESIDENT OF MONGOLIA.
    It is time for us to create. In the last few years, a number of factories have been opened in Mongolia, accelerating the creation. For instance, construction material manufacturers, iron processing plants, food production companies and other key factories are complete and ready for commissioning. Creation in our country is arising against the economic setback.

NORTH KOREA: 2015 NEW YEAR'S ADDRESS BY KIM JUNG UN.
     And there is no reason why we should not hold a summit meeting if the atmosphere and environment for it are created. In the future, too, we will make every effort to substantially promote dialogue and negotiations. The entire Korean nation should turn out together in the nationwide movement for the country’s reunification so as to glorify this year as a landmark in opening up a broad avenue to independent reunification.

RUSSIA: RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN’S NEW YEAR ADDRESS TO THE NATION.
     In the coming year we will have to jointly address quite a few tasks. The new year’s shape is in our own hands, it will depend on how effectively, creatively and productively each of us will be doing one’s job. There are just no other recipes. We must accomplish and implement every single plan of ours - for our own sake, for the sake of our children, and for the sake of Russia.

SOUTH KOREA: PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE’S NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE TO THE NATION.
     This historic year marks the 70th anniversary of liberation and, at the same time, of the division of the country. Over the past 70 years, all Koreans came together to achieve the Miracle on the Han River with an indomitable determination and have also defended and developed liberal democracy.
Now, we are standing at a starting point for another 70 years of the Republic of Korea. We are tasked with a historic duty to leave a proud Republic to our posterity just as the generations before us did.


TAIWAN: RECONCILIATION, COOPERATION, AND PEACE BY President Ma Ying-jeou
     Achieving reconciliation within our society is only part of the picture; in addition, cross-strait peace must be consolidated. As I see it, we seek but three goals in our conduct of cross-strait relations. The first is peace. The second is also peace. And the third, once again, is peace. The things we've achieved over the past six years stand as proof that seeking peace in this way is the right way to go.

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