At the Great Hall of the People Sunday afternoon Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shortly after the visiting leader had held talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
"Your ongoing visit is serving as a turning point in the China-Japan relations and I hope it will also serve as a new starting point for the improvement and development of bilateral ties," Hu told Abe. He congratulated Abe on taking office as prime minister.
Hu spoke highly of Abe selecting China as the destination of his first official overseas trip. He said it indicated that Abe attached significant importance to the improvement and development of relations between the two countries.
Sino-Japanese relations soured over former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine where 14 Japanese class-A war criminals from World War II are honored among the country's war dead. China-Japan relations had faced difficulties because an "individual Japanese leader" persisted in visiting the Shrine. "This is not what we wish to see," Hu said.
"Since Mr. Abe took office China and Japan have reached consensus on overcoming political obstacles affecting bilateral ties and promoting Sino-Japanese relations which creates conditions for the improvement and development of bilateral relations," added Hu.
China-Japan friendly cooperation was not only concerned with the interests of the two countries but also with peace, stability, development and the prosperity of Asia and the world at large, said Hu.
He urged Japan to give correct recognition and proper treatment of the historical issue and avoid harming the sensitivities of the people of victimized countries.
Japan should hold firm its one-China policy and handle the Taiwan issue appropriately so as to constantly consolidate the political basis for bilateral relations, Hu said.
The Chinese president suggested the two countries expand exchanges in trade, investment and technology, increase cooperation in energy, environmental protection, information technology and financial sectors.
Hu proposed the expansion of exchanges and cooperation between the governments, political parties, social organizations and cultural and youth groups of the two countries. On regional and international issues Hu advocated stronger coordination and communications. He said China hoped Japan would continue to move forward as a peace-loving country and play a constructive role in regional and international affairs.
Abe, who took office on September 26, said he paid great attention to bilateral ties and to lift them to a new high to create a bright future for the two countries and the region was important. It was a common responsibility for the two sides.
He said Japan attached much importance to Hu's guidelines on promoting bilateral ties. Japan would make contributions from a strategic perspective to the improvement and development of these in the spirit of the three bilateral political documents.
Abe said historically Japan had caused great damage and suffering for Asian people and it was now their fixed policy to remain on a path of peaceful development on the basis of the deep introspection about the past.
This policy wouldn't change, said Abe. The Japanese and he himself would appropriately handle the historic issue in accordance with the consensus on overcoming the political obstacles affecting bilateral relations and promoting the sound and steady growth of such ties.
Abe said the two economies were interdependent and China's rapid economic development had helped Japan's economic recovery and growth. Bilateral cooperation in other fields had continuously moved forward, he noted.
He also hoped that the two countries would promote contacts at various levels, enhance mutual trust, expand exchanges in economy, culture, education and personnel, strengthen communication and cooperation in regional and international affairs so as to push bilateral relations to higher levels.
Abe reiterated that Japan would, in accordance with the joint statement, adhere to a one-China policy and not support "two Chinas", "one China, one Taiwan" or "Taiwan independence". It opposed any unilateral change of the status quo across the Taiwan Straits.
Abe is the first Japanese postwar prime minister to choose China as the destination of his first official overseas trip. It's also the first visit to China by a Japanese prime minister in five years.
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(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2006)