Vice President Zeng Qinghong yesterday called for common development between China and Japan to be achieved through dialogue and friendly cooperation.
Zeng's statement came during a meeting with Takeshi Noda, a Japanese lawmaker with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in Beijing only a day after Japan's criticism of Chinese research ships operating in disputed waters of the East China Sea.
Sino-Japanese ties have gone through "sunny springs and chilly winters," but friendship and cooperation have always been a common aim, Zeng said.
"Improving and developing Sino-Japanese relations is the common responsibility and historical mission of the governments, parties and politicians of the two countries," he said.
The two sides should keep in mind the entirety of China-Japan relations, whilst making every effort to safeguard the "political basis" of bilateral ties, Zeng said, referring to the three political documents that encompass Sino-Japanese bilateral relations.
Noda, also chairman of the Japan-China Society, said that the top leaders of the two countries had made great progress in improving ties through measured actions and learned discourse.
He added that both sides should strengthen partnership in various fields and work for friendship and a brighter future.
Bilateral ties saw a turning point when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited China in October last year. As a consequence, Premier Wen Jiabao is expected to visit Tokyo in April.
Last month, the two countries agreed to vast personnel exchanges involving over 20,000 people this year to help commemorate the 35th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties.
The Japanese newspaper, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, has reported that Chinese navy ships are likely to visit a Japanese port in August, followed by a Maritime Self-Defense Force return trip next year. These reports have so far gone unconfirmed by Chinese authorities.
The bilateral ties are being affected by both historical issues and that of gas exploration in the East China Sea.
Japan yesterday claimed to have spotted a Chinese ship early on Sunday carrying out research in what Tokyo considered its territorial waters in the East China Sea, and lodged a formal protest with the Chinese embassy, AFP reported.
Since October 2004, China and Japan have held six rounds of talks aimed at solving the East China Sea issue but no agreement has been reached.
China insists its oil and gas exploration is carried out in undisputed areas and always stands ready for talks and consultations to resolve the East China Sea demarcation disputes.
(China Daily February 6, 2007)