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China Takes Diplomatic Move to Improve Sino-Japanese Ties
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The Chinese government has taken diplomatic moves to reverse the downturn of China-Japan relations.

Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech on Sino-Japanese ties in March was "an important diplomatic move" adopted by China to improve bilateral ties, said Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan in Beijing Monday.

Tang made the remarks in a meeting with Japan's Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Takebe Tsutomu.

"Under the new situation, the maintenance of healthy and stable growth of Sino-Japanese ties complies with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the common aspiration of the international community," Tang said.

"Sino-Japanese ties now face certain difficulties. Such a situation should be promptly reversed," Tang said.

Hu made the speech when meeting with heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations in Beijing on March 31.

The seven organizations, which came as guests of the China-Japan Friendship Association, include the Japanese Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Association of Dietmen League for Japan-China Friendship, Japan-China Friendship Association, Japan-China Cultural Exchange Association, Japan-China Association on Economy and Trade, Japan-China Society, and Japan-China Friendship Center.

The relationship between China and Japan has been chilled in recent years due to Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's repeated pilgrimage to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 Class-A 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.

Hu told the heads of the seven Japanese organizations that in recent years, China-Japan relationship has been faced with a difficult situation, which has aroused worries from the two peoples and attention from the international community.

The sticking point in this issue is that certain Japanese leader insists on visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, Hu said, noting that this move harms the feelings of peoples from China and other victimized countries, and infringes upon the political foundation of the China-Japan relations.

According to Tang, Hu in the speech fully expounded China's principled stance on Sino-Japanese ties with "an attitude responsible for the history, the people and the future".

Being responsible for the history means that the historical facts should be respected, and historical lessons should be learned so as to prevent the replay of historical tragedy, Hu said.

Being responsible for the people means that the development of China-Japan relations should always be based on enhancing friendship between the two peoples and seeking for concrete benefits for the two peoples, Hu noted.

Being responsible for the future means that the two sides should persist in the peaceful coexistence and friendship for generations to come, and jointly create the bright future for the China-Japan good-neighborly friendship and mutually-beneficial cooperation, he said.

The president said the Chinese government has a "clear", "consistent" and "unswerving" stance on its relations with Japan.

Hu's speech "fully demonstrated China's active gesture and sincere aspiration to improve Sino-Japanese ties," Tang said, adding that the speech clearly directed the course of the improvement of bilateral ties and presented effective ways to address the current problems and the future prospects of Sino-Japanese ties.

Tang also urged Takebe and other friends from the LDP to enhance communications among political parties in the two countries in an effort to play a constructive role in bilateral ties.

Takebe said Japan would learn the lesson from history and adhere to the path of peaceful development.

He was willing to contribute to the improvement and growth of Japan-China relations through promotion of exchanges between two ruling parties, as well as localities and non-governmental organizations of the two countries.

The growth of bilateral ties is of significance to the maintenance of peace in Asia and the world at large, he said.

China is Takebe's first leg of a week-long Asian trip that will also take him to Mongolia.

(Xinhua News Agency May 2, 2006)

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