Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing on Tuesday urged the Japanese government to remove political obstacles to improving and developing bilateral ties.
During a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso, it was highlighted by Li that a correct understanding and reaction to an unfortunate period of history constituted an important political basis for restoration and development of post-war bilateral ties.
He emphasized that Japanese leaders' insistence on paying homage at the Yasukuni Shrine which honors convicted Japanese war criminals had hurt Chinese people and harmed the political basis for bilateral ties.
"It’s imperative to remove such an obstacle to permit for improving and developing bilateral ties," Li said.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the fifth ministerial meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue in the Qatari capital of Doha, which opened Tuesday and will close Wednesday.
Li said the Chinese government attached great importance to developing Sino-Japanese friendship and were ready to promote neighborly and cooperative ties with Japan based on learning from historical lessons and looking to the future.
Li recalled that Chinese President Hu Jintao expounded on his government's policies of cherishing and developing bilateral relations in a meeting with a group of Japanese guests representing seven associations for Japanese-Chinese friendship on March 31.
He observed that at present Sino-Japanese political ties were facing serious difficulties and this was not in the interests of the two countries nor in line with the aspirations of the international community. The Chinese were willing to work with the Japanese to bring bilateral ties back on track, Li said.
For his part Aso said Japan paid close attention to its ties with China and welcomed the country’s peaceful development. He hoped bilateral ties could be developed based on three political documents guiding those links. .
On the Taiwan issue he said the Japanese government would continue to observe the one-China principle.
He said the Japanese government had thought about President Hu's remarks on March 31 and hoped that the two sides would grasp the real meaning of the remarks to engage in more discussion and exchanges with the aim of enhancing mutual understanding in order to improve and develop bilateral ties.
During the meeting the two sides agreed that Sino-Japanese ties were one of the most important bilateral relationships for both countries.
The two ministers also agreed that it was important to strengthen strategic dialogue, to work together to remove political barriers, to deepen economic and trade cooperation, to initiate cooperation in the areas of energy saving and environmental protection and to expand shared interests.
They agreed that it was important to promote people-to-people exchanges, especially among young people, and to continue to engage in security dialogue at deputy ministerial-level and military exchanges.
(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2006)