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Senior Japanese Official Sees Abe's China Visit as Opportunity
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The upcoming visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to China was aimed at permitting "candid and heart-to-heart" discussions with the Chinese leaders, said a senior Japanese official in Beijing on Saturday.

It's believed Abe is "ready to engage in mutual endeavor" with the Chinese leaders to overcome various issues which lie between China and Japan, said the official who's a special advisor to Abe. He gave his briefing on condition of anonymity.

Abe is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao, top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao during his stay in Beijing, according to the Japanese Embassy to China.

The meetings between Abe and Chinese leaders were arranged against an extremely difficult environment for both and is the result of a willingness from the two countries to attempt to overcome difficulties in order to make something positive happen, the source said.

The change of the Japanese government gave an opportunity for both to build a new relationship. Actually, face-to-face discussions between the leaders of the two countries was a significant success, the source added. 

According to him the nuclear test of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea would also be an "important agenda" item at the meeting. Abe is scheduled to discuss the Korean peninsula nuclear issue with China's top leaders in order to push forward the stranded six-party talks for an early resumption, the official said.

Abe, at 52, Japan's first premier born after World War II, has pledged to improve relations with their Asian neighbors, but refused to say whether or not he would visit the Yasukuni Shrine as prime minister.

Japan and China have to cooperate to solve many problems between them including the shrine visit issue, said the official.

This is the first trip of the new prime minister since he took office which displayed a high of attention to China, the official said.

Premier Wen invited Abe to visit China on the premise that "China and Japan reached a consensus on overcoming the political obstacles affecting bilateral relationships and promoting a friendly and cooperative relationship," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on Wednesday.

The leaders of the two countries halted the exchange of visits when former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid homage to the Yasukuni Shrine in 2001 where Japan's war dead, including 14 class-A war criminals of WW II, are honored.

(Xinhua News Agency October 8, 2006)

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