China on Tuesday once again urged Japan to make a "positive" and "well-meaning" response to President Hu Jintao's remarks on Sino-Japanese ties and work to restore normal bilateral relations.
"The current status of the Sino-Japanese ties isn't in accord with the basic interests of the people of the two counties, nor does it meet the expectations of the international community. They should be changed as soon as possible," Chinese top political advisor Jia Qinglin said at a meeting with a delegation of the Japanese Council for the Promotion of International Trade, led by former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.
Jia recalled Hu's remarks on March 31 in a meeting with the heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations in Beijing, saying that the remarks provided direction on improving bilateral ties.
"President Hu's remarks fully demonstrate China's positive attitude and sincere goodwill," said Jia, who is also chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
The relationship between China and Japan has chilled in recent years due to Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including about a dozen major World War II criminals.
Leaders of the two neighboring countries have halted exchanges of visit for over four years, ever since Koizumi began paying homage to the controversial war shrine soon after he took office in 2001.
At his March meeting with the heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations, Hu said the Chinese government values the Sino-Japanese relations and regards it as one of the important bilateral relations in the world, and China has made unswerving efforts to improve the ties.
Hu also offered talks with Japanese leaders as soon as they make an unequivocal decision to stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine.
"We hope the Japanese side will make positive and well-meaning responses with concrete measures and join hands with China to put bilateral ties back on track and move toward healthy and stable development as soon as possible," Jia said.
Jia also highlighted China's economic and trade cooperation with Japan, saying that the two countries, as key trading partners, should take further steps to expand cooperation to enhance the bilateral economic ties.
Hashimoto said the political relations between Japan and China were currently difficult, but the will of the people of both countries for bilateral friendship remains unchanged.
He said the purpose of his delegation's visit was to exchange views on enhancing bilateral economic cooperation with relevant Chinese departments in a bid to make positive efforts to improve bilateral ties.
The Japanese delegation was invited by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. After its arrival in Beijing on Sunday, the delegation has called on China's Ministry of Commerce and State Development and Reform Commission.
On Wednesday, the Japanese delegation will head to east China's Anhui Province. They will end up their China tour on Friday after traveling to Shanghai.
(Xinhua News Agency April 18, 2006)