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Japan Urged to Take Measures to Ease Chilled Ties
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China on Friday urged the Japanese government to take concrete measures to ease the chilled bilateral ties.


"We hope the Japanese government will take concrete measures to eradicate the problems and obstacles in China-Japan relations and push bilateral ties back to the right track of healthy development as soon as possible," State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan told heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations in Beijing last night.


Tang also urged the Japanese government to have a correct understanding of and approach to history and respect the feeling of the people of the countries victimized by Japan during World War II.


He said the friendship between China and Japan serves the practical and long-term interests of the two countries and the two peoples. "We hope the seven Japan-China friendship organizations will continue to play constructive roles to this end."


When meeting the Japanese visitors earlier yesterday, President Hu Jintao said he is ready to meet Japan's leader as long as he promises not to visit the Yasukuni Shrine that honors WWII war criminals.


It is the first time China's leader has explicitly laid out conditions for resuming long-stalled talks between the two countries' top leaders.


Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's repeated visits to the shrine, a symbol of Japan's past militarism, led to the suspension of high-level contact between the two countries.


Hu said the cause of the worsening relationship did not lie with China or ordinary Japanese people.


The crux of the problem is that the Japanese leader insists on visiting the shrine, which has hurt the feelings of Chinese people and damaged the political foundation of Sino-Japanese relations.


To properly solve the problems hindering bilateral ties, one must "take a responsible attitude toward history, respect historical facts and learn from history," Hu said.


He said the visit by the Japanese organizations reflected their wish to improve bilateral relations.


During the one-and-a-half-hour meeting, Hu said that friendly Sino-Japanese ties were in the fundamental interests of the two peoples and contributed to peace and stability in Asia and the world at large.


Hu said the Chinese government has a clear, consistent and unswerving stance toward its relations with Japan.


"We will abide by the principles of the three Sino-Japanese political documents ... and continue to adhere to the principle of 'taking history as a mirror and looking into the future'," said Hu.


He said China would adhere to its good neighborly foreign policy and would not pose a threat or challenge to any country.


"China's national defense policy is completely defensive in nature and is aimed at safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity.


"China has not, and will never, seek hegemony," he said, rejecting the "China threat" theory as totally groundless.


The seven Japanese organizations, which came as guests of the China-Japan Friendship Association, include the Japanese Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Association of Dietmen League for Japan-China Friendship, Japan-China Friendship Association, Japan-China Cultural Exchange Association, Japan-China Association on Economy and Trade, Japan-China Society, and Japan-China Friendship Center.


The heads of the organizations include former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and former Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura.


(Xinhua News Agency April 1, 2006)

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