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FM: Japan's Stance on Taiwan, History Hurting Ties
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The Foreign Ministry said yesterday Japan's wrong words and actions toward the issues of Taiwan and history are the major factors leading to the poor sentiment between the people of the two countries.


Referring to a recent survey conducted by a Japanese Cabinet Office in October, which concluded that the Japanese people's friendly feelings toward China are at a record low, the ministry's spokesperson Qin Gang said the causes of the deteriorating sentiment are "multi-sided."


"But the fundamental reason is that the Japanese government adopts wrong words and actions toward Taiwan and history," he said at a regular press conference.


In a Japanese Cabinet Office poll released last weekend, only 32.4 percent of respondents said they had friendly feelings toward China, down 5.2 points from last year's figure, an apparent reflection of the icy diplomatic ties between the Asian neighbors.


Such a major drop in feelings is not good for both countries, former Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura told a Japanese television program on Sunday.


"We hope the Japanese side could do something conducive to the friendship of the two peoples and take concrete measures to change the situation," Qin said.


Relations between Beijing and Tokyo have soured as Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has visited the Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of Japan's militarism, every year since he took office in 2001.


Responding to a Japanese media report that a Japanese consular official who committed suicide in Shanghai last year was threatened by Chinese intelligence officials to disclose national secrets, Qin said the report is "groundless."


Masaharu Kono, director-general of the Foreign Policy Bureau of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Qiao Zonghuai in Beijing Monday and both exchanged views over the reform of the UN Security Council. Japan has been seeking a permanent seat on the UN's most powerful council.


During the meeting, Qiao reaffirmed that the current pressing tasks are to implement the outcome documents finalized at the UN's 60th anniversary summit, to push for progress in areas where common ground has been reached, and to give top priority to the development issue, according to the spokesperson.


"China insists on a position that the reform of the Security Council should give priority to increasing representations of developing countries, especially African countries," Qin said, adding broad consensus should be reached on the basis of democratic discussions and consultations.


"China opposes forced voting on any resolution where differences still exist, and China's stance on UN reform has not changed," he said.


Turning to the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, Qin said the specific date for the second phase of the fifth-round six-party talks has not been decided.


He said the Chinese side is currently negotiating with the other five parties over the specific date in the hope of reopening the talks at an early date.


"To denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and ensure peace and stability there is in the interests of all parties to the talks," he said.


Qin urged all parties concerned to take the overall situation into account and solve relevant problems through negotiation and consultation so as to increase mutual understanding and trust and create a favorable atmosphere for the progress in the talks.


The six-party talks entered a fifth round in November. The six parties -- China, the US, Russia, Japan, North and South Korea -- agreed in a chairman's document on November 11 to hold the second-phase meeting at the earliest possible date.


Moving on to the challenge of bird flu, Qin said China will continue to strengthen cooperation with the world community to deal with it.


China advocates that cooperation should be carried out through international mechanisms so as to combat the spread of bird flu, he said.


Meanwhile, China holds international cooperation should be conducted in such areas as bird flu epidemiology, virus testing and monitoring and the establishment of a bird flu laboratory network, he added.


Asian countries and the world community should share information and promote technical exchanges so as to explore new methods to control the disease, he said.


Concerning China's newly produced live vaccine against bird flu, he said it was encouraging and gratifying news provided the vaccine can really help to prevent the disease's spread.


When commenting on Bolivian president's intention to visit next month, Qin said Bolivia is a friendly country of China and China values relations with it.


China is willing to maintain friendly exchanges and cooperation with Bolivia in various fields on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, he said.


China hopes to push forward bilateral relations to develop in a healthy and stable manner, he added.


(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily December 28, 2005)

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