Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan urged the Japanese government Saturday to promptly and properly deal with the problems arising from the death of a Chinese citizen as a result of exposure to chemical weapons left by Japanese invaders in northeast China during World War II.
Tang made the remark while meeting with the delegates attending the two-day China-Japan Friendship Exchange Meeting.
Tang said the Chinese people are outraged by the incident and the Japanese government should take a responsible attitude towards history and speed up the destruction of the chemical weapons they left in China, in accordance with the relevant bilateral agreements and international pacts.
Only by so doing can "the hidden peril chronically endangering the safety of the Chinese people be uprooted," Tang said.
Several Chinese citizens in northeast China were exposed in early August to the mustard gas which leaked from the chemical weapons left by Japanese invaders. Li Guizhen, 31, received the most serious contamination, and he died last Thursday.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry Friday lodged a protest with the Japanese side concerning the incident.
At the meeting today, Tang said the Chinese government will continue to advocate a good-neighborly and friendly policy towards Japan.
He said that he hoped the two countries would properly handle the problems between the two sides, in line with "viewing history as a mirror and looking forward to the future," and on the basis of three political documents, including the China-Japan Joint Statement, so as to promote the Sino-Japanese friendly and cooperative partnership for peace and development.
Tang spoke highly of the role of non-governmental friendship and the part played by non-government organizations for the growth of bilateral friendship.
Non-governmental friendship is a fine tradition and precious treasure for Sino-Japanese ties, he said. The Chinese government will continue to support and attach great importance to non-government friendship between China and Japan, and hopes that non-government friendship will play a greater role in new situation, he added.
The Sino-Japanese Friendship Exchange Conference was held Aug. 22-23, attended by 100 delegates from the two countries.
(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2003)