Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan urged the Japanese government Wednesday to take measures to solve the issue of chemical weapons abandoned by Japanese invaders in China during World War II.
Cao, also vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and a state councilor, made the appeal during talks with Director General of Japan's Defense Agency Ishiba Shigeru, who arrived in China Monday for a four-day visit.
The chemical weapons left behind by Japanese invaders still pose a serious threat to Chinese people's safety and living environment, Cao said.
China hopes the Japanese government pay high attention to the issue and take concrete and appropriate measures to solve it as soon as possible, he said.
Ishiba said the Japanese side will maintain close contact with China on the issue and continue to deal with it with sincerity so as to solve it properly.
Cao said the majority of China-Japan relations are going well currently and the two sides have close exchanges in official and non-official sectors.
He said the economic and trade cooperation between China and Japan grew very fast in recent years, and bilateral coordination and cooperation in regional and international affairs were also improved.
China is willing to work together with Japan to further explore friendly and cooperative ties, he said.
However, Cao noted historical problems are unavoidable in handling China-Japan relations.
Those issues, including Japanese senior officials' visits to Yasukuni Shrine, Japanese history textbooks, forced Chinese laborers and wartime comfort women, not only affect China-Japan political ties but also harm the relations between the two peoples, especially Chinese people's feelings, Cao said.
Ishiba said the Japanese government has reflected on and apologized for the damages that Japan brought to other countries during its colonialist rule and aggression.
He said Japan is willing to improve exchanges and cooperation with China in all fields, which, he believed, will be conducive to maintaining regional peace and stability.
The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international affairs, defense policies and other issues of common concern.
(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2003)