President Jiang Zemin yesterday urged the Japanese government to tell the historical truth when meeting a Japanese delegation led by secretaries-general of the three ruling coalition parties of Japan.
Jiang said that China and Japan should adhere to the principle of "taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future" so as to ensure the development of a long-standing friendship between the two countries.
The meeting took place one day after the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed its "extreme regret" and "strong indignation" at Japan's refusal to revise a history textbook that whitewashes Japan's wartime activities.
History is an objective reality that cannot be exaggerated or diminished, said Jiang, adding that the Japanese invasion during the late 1930s and 1940s brought major trauma to the Chinese people.
The Chinese president, describing both China and Japan as "important countries in Asia," said that learning lessons from the past will help improve bilateral relations in the future.
The same message was conveyed during meetings between Vice-Premier Qian Qichen and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and the Japanese guests, who included Secretary-General Taku Yamazaki of the Liberal Democratic Party, Secretary-General Fuyushiba Tetsuzo of the Komei Party and Secretary-General Takeshi Noda of the Conservative Party.
Tang, blaming errors by Japan for damaging bilateral relations, stressed that a proper handling of the issues in dispute will help ties recover.
According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tang also said that the Chinese people and people in other war victim countries in Asia will not accept it if the Japanese leader insisted on going to the Yasukuni Shrine, where Japan's Class-A war criminals are worshipped.
The spokesman quoted the Japanese guests as saying that Japan will adhere to the principles enshrined in the joint declaration signed during Jiang's visit to Japan in 1998 to push for smooth progress of bilateral ties.
(China Daily 07/11/2001)