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China, Japan Vow to Continue Dialogue
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Senior party officials from China and Japan called their first regular dialogue "frank" and "insightful" as they concluded a one-and-half-day meeting in Beijing on Wednesday morning.


Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee (IDCPC), said that both sides showed sincerity and motivation in carrying out the dialogue in an "extensive and practical" way.


Hidenao Nakagawa, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) No. 3, said exchanges between the ruling parties of Japan and China are an important communications channel. He said that he sincerely hopes for their dialogues to continue despite their differences.


Nakagawa, chairman of the party Policy Research Council, heads the eight-member Japanese delegation. Also in the Japanese delegation is Yoshihisa Inoue, Policy Research Council chairman of the Komei Party, the other half of Japan's ruling coalition.


The Chinese side was headed by Wang Jiarui and consisted of some 20 prominent figures.


The two sides fully expressed their views on the current state and problems of China-Japan relations, the prospects for bilateral relations, trade and economic cooperation, and foreign and defense policies.


The biggest grouse is the issue of Japanese leaders' repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine that honors 14 convicted World War II criminals.


Wang said China-Japan relations are now "at a critical crossroad facing the historic challenge of what course to follow."


The current state of China-Japan relations is abnormal and unharmonious, Wang said.


He noted that the CPC and the Chinese government have a clear guideline, sincere motivation and earnest attitude toward the development of good-neighborly, friendly and cooperative relationship with Japan. However, the Chinese side has yet to receive any positive response from the Japanese side, Wang said.


During the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of China's victory in the war against Japanese aggression last September, Chinese President Hu Jintao said the nation's emphasis on the need to always remember the past does "not mean to continue the hatred."


Hu also called on the Japanese government and its leaders to translate their apologies and remorse for the war into concrete action.


However, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid yet another visit to the Yasukuni Shrine last October. He said later that he would continue to visit the controversial war shrine. Koizumi even went on to say that the visits are an internal affair and that other countries have no right to intervene.


Wang said that under the current circumstances, the key to breaking the deadlock and improving bilateral relations is in Koizumi's hands, that is, he should stop visiting the shrine.


Nakagawa said that he has heard the opinions of the Chinese and will convey the same to the Japanese people, the Japanese government and its leaders.


The two countries should particularly step up economic cooperation, Wang said. "So we can protect prospering economic ties from the effects of the political chill, which have already seen slower growth in 2005.


"Moreover, the two countries should also enhance exchanges in culture, sports and youth programs to promote mutual understanding and trust," Wang said.


The two-day meeting (February 21 to 22) is the first between the CPC and the Japanese ruling coalition since they established an exchange mechanism in March 2004.


Japan has proposed holding the second meeting in Japan early next year.


(Xinhua News Agency February 23, 2006)

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