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Peaceful Development Benefits Japan, Region: FM

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao told a regular press conference yesterday that peaceful development is in the interest of Japan as well as the peace and stability of the region, reacting to a Japanese ruling party's promotion of a new draft calling for the possession of military forces.

"Due to historical factors, Asian countries are paying close attention to Japan's move to revise the constitution," he said.

The Japanese governing Liberal Democratic Party's new draft constitution, presented on the occasion of the party's 50th anniversary on Tuesday, calls for the possession of an official military for the first time since World War II and for the armed forces to get a more assertive international role.

Liu repeated the Chinese government's opposition to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine which honors 14-Class-A war criminals amongst millions of other Japanese war dead.

"We do not oppose the Japanese general public's visits to Yasukuni Shrine," Liu said. "But we firmly oppose visits by Japanese leaders."

He echoed the comments of Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi, who said yesterday that the shrine visits by Japanese leaders were political obstructions to bilateral ties.

Liu also said the Chinese fishing vessel detained by Japan in its exclusive economic zone on Monday because the shipmaster failed to present certificates showing his identification has been released.

China and Japan have properly handled the case in accordance with bilateral fishing agreement and common practice, Liu said.

Premier Wen's visits

Liu said Premier Wen Jiabao will pay official visits to France, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Malaysia from December 4 to 15.

Wen will also attend the 9th Summit between China and ASEAN, the 9th ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea Summit and the 1st East Asian Summit in Kuala Lumpur.

Wen was invited by French Prime Minister Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin, Slovakian Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Liu said.

Liu also said Alexander Grigorievich Lukashenko, president of Belarus, will visit China from December 4 to 7 as a guest of President Hu Jintao.

Lesotho's Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili will also visit from November 30 to December 6 at Wen's invitation.

(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily November 25, 2005)

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Chinese Foreign Ministry
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