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7th Round of China-Japan Strategic Dialogue Begins in Beijing
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The vice foreign ministers for China and Japan bantered on Thursday prior to the start of the 7th round of strategic dialogue -- a sure sign of warming relations between the two countries.


Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and Japanese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Shotaro Yachi are leading the two delegations at the three-day meeting.


"As participants in the dialogue, both of us are happy about the positive changes in bilateral ties," Dai told Yachi before their closed door meetings began.


Echoing Dai's views, Yachi quipped that this was the first time he had smiled while talking with Chinese officials at the strategic dialogue.


The first round of the strategic dialogue was held in Beijing in May 2005.


"China-Japan strategic dialogue was initiated at a time when bilateral relations were faced with great difficulties," Dai said in his opening remarks in Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. "The strategic dialogue played a role in removing political obstacles in bilateral relations and getting the relations back on track."


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a landmark visit to China last October, the first since Abe took office last September. The visit is widely regarded as a "turning point" in China-Japan relations.


Both Dai and Yachi agreed that they bear "heavy responsibility" in promoting China-Japan ties. The two delegations to the dialogue consist of some 20 Chinese and Japanese officials.


Later on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing also met with Yachi. "These (talks) provide an important opportunity for progress in bilateral ties," Li said, urging the two countries to make joint efforts to advance relations.


The foreign minister urged Japan to observe the three China-Japan political documents and resolve the "sensitive" issues in a proper manner.


(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2007)

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