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China, Japan Trade Ministers Discuss Closer Cooperation
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Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai met with his Japanese counterpart Toshihiro Nikai on Saturday in Kyoto and discussed ways to promote economic cooperation to mend tattered ties.

"Cold (bilateral) ties have continued on the political front. This has affected economic and trade relations," Bo was quoted as saying at the meeting.

He noted that the difficulty in bilateral relations arose not because of the Chinese or Japanese people per se, but because of the Japanese leader's insistence on visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, where World War II war criminals are honored.

Bo expressed his hope that Japan would take a correct view of history and create conditions for closer trade cooperation in the future.

Bo is attending a three-day forum on energy saving and environment conservation which starts on Monday in Tokyo.

Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Nikai expressed his country's willingness to mend fences between the two by promoting economic cooperation. He said at the meeting that Japan plans to use the forum as an opportunity to enhance cooperation in energy saving and bilateral exchanges.

During the meeting, the two ministers also agreed to start working-level talks to map out a mid- and long-term vision for economic, trade and industrial cooperation between the two countries.

Bo also introduced China's strategy to develop its western and central regions and invited Japanese enterprises to attend an investment and trade fair in Hunan Province in September.

Nikai said Japan will promote trade exchanges between Chinese and Japanese economic circles.

After the meeting with Nikai, Bo also met with governors of Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo and Wakayama prefectures, the mayors of Osaka and Kobe, as well as other local officials, who also expressed willingness to work on improving bilateral ties and economic cooperation.

(Xinhua News Agency May 29, 2006)

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