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Japan Urged to Destroy Abandoned Chemical Weapons

China strongly urged the Japanese government to bear its due responsibility and obligations to thoroughly and completely destroy the abandoned wartime chemical weapons at an early date in a bid to remove the threat and danger to the country.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei made this remark in Beijing Friday when he held talks with the visiting Japanese Vice Minister of the Cabinet Office Takeshi Erikawa.

Wu said 60 years have passed since the end of aggression of China by Japanese militarism, yet the chemical weapons abandoned by Japanese aggressor troops are still posing a great threat to the Chinese people and the environment.

China hopes Erikawa's visit will be conducive for the Japanese government and people to acknowledge the sadistic brutality of the Japanese invasion.

"The Chinese people fell victim to chemical weapons during the Japanese militarist war of aggression against China and have fallen victim to them in the following 60 years," he said.

China strongly urged the Japanese side to abide by the Convention on the Banning of Chemical Weapons and the memorandum that the two governments signed on the destruction of the abandoned chemical weapons to shoulder its due responsibility and obligations to destroy all the chemical weapons in China, Wu said.

Erikawa, who started his China tour on Tuesday, said the Japanese government has attached great importance to the issue of abandoned chemical weapons in China. The Japanese government will make efforts to eliminate its negative historical legacy, he said.

He promised that the Japanese will destroy the abandoned chemical weapons as soon as possible in accordance with the convention and on the basis of ensuring the safety of personnel and the environment.

"The Japanese government is deeply regretful for the deaths and injuries caused to the Chinese by the abandoned chemical weapons, "said Erikawa, adding that the Japanese will expedite the disposal of the chemical weapons to prevent similar accidents from happening again.

Erikawa paid a visit to the burial site in Dunhua City of northeast China's Jilin Province from Tuesday to Thursday.

Official statistics show that Japan abandoned at least 2 million tons of chemical weapons in about 40 sites in 15 provinces in China, with a large proportion in the northeast part of the country.

A total of 2,000 Chinese people have fallen victim to the chemical weapons over the past decades.

An August 2003 toxic leak which killed one and injured 43 others in Qiqihar City of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province was the most serious tragedy in recent years.

China and Japan signed a memorandum in 1999 in which Japan agreed to provide all the necessary funds, equipment and personnel for the retrieval and destruction of all Japanese-abandoned chemical weapons in China by 2007.
(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2005)

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