China's top legislator, Wu Bangguo, said that developing good neighborly ties with Japan was the only choice that conformed to the fundamental interests of the two countries.
Wu made the remarks Sunday when meeting with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), Wu said Abe's visit attracted world attention especially from Japanese and Chinese people.
"I hope the stalemate in Chinese-Japanese relations will come to an end and I believe this visit will turn over a new page for Chinese-Japanese ties," Wu said.
Abe, who took office on September 26, is the first Japanese postwar prime minister to choose China as the destination of his first official overseas trip.
He's also the first Japanese leader visiting China in five years as top-level visits had halted because of Abe's predecessor Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine where 14 class-A war criminals from WWII are honored along with Japan's war dead.
Abe told Wu that this visit indicated both Japan and China attached "extreme importance" to bilateral ties.
Wu said China and Japan were big nations and also neighbors. "You can choose friends but cannot choose neighbors." So, to develop good neighborly ties was the only choice that conforms to the fundamental interests of the two peoples which also had benefits for peace, stability and development in Asia and the whole world as well.
Wu urged the two countries to look at bilateral relations in a long and strategic perspective. The two should continue to "take history as a mirror and look into the future," abide by the principles set out in the three Sino-Japanese political documents and steer the direction of bilateral relations and settle historical problems and the Taiwan issue properly, he said.
Wu said the non-governmental friendship between the two countries had been an important guarantee for the development of bilateral relations and hoped China and Japan could further promote exchanges in non-governmental, cultural fields and youth exchanges.
Wu said the NPC had established a regular exchange mechanism with its Japanese counterpart and he hoped this channel could play its due role in promoting bilateral relations.
Abe said to promote understanding and trust between the countries was the foundation for bilateral relations and the Japanese were glad to see frequent exchanges between the parliamentary organizations of the two countries.
The Japanese hoped to promote understanding between the peoples and bring bilateral relations to a higher level, Abe said.
(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2006)