Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's upcoming Japan trip will lay the groundwork ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao's official visit in April, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. Li will visit Japan from February 15, the first such occasion since 2004.
During his stay Li will not only hold talks with Japanese counterpart Taro Aso, but also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news briefing.
Relations between the two countries have markedly improved since Abe's visit to China last October, widely heralded as a "turning point" in bilateral ties.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations, with the two sides commemorating the occasion with a year of sporting and cultural exchanges.
South Korea urged to deal appropriately with blaze aftermath
South Korea has been asked to make all arrangements needed for the families of the Chinese victims of a fire at a detention center in Yeosu.
Jiang announced that China requires South Korea to give its full support to the families of the dead and injured.
Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy has pressed South Korean authorities to provide a full list of Chinese casualties and rapidly determined the cause of the fire.
"Three of the dead still have not been identified as South Korea can only provide their names in English," said Zhao Dengyu, a consul at the Chinese embassy, adding that domestic authorities are busy providing a name and a picture for each Chinese victim.
Chinese Ambassador Ning Fukui arrived in Yeosu yesterday to visit the injured and the families of the dead and to express his condolences.
Putin's criticism of the US
Commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent speech rebuking the US, Jiang said: "As the international situation is filled with opportunities and challenges, all countries should make efforts to create a harmonious world featuring lasting peace and common prosperity."
Putin spoke in Munich on Saturday at G-7 security conference, saying that the US' "almost uncontained" use of force has led to other nations developing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.
"All countries should step up cooperation, seize opportunities and cope with challenges," Jiang added.
China, Russia actively promote signing of treaty to prevent space arms race
In recent years China, Russia among other nations have been actively lobbying the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva for a treaty preventing an arms race in space, Jiang said, adding that China stood clearly opposed to the deployment of weapons in space and had made suggestions to this effect.
China will continue to press the international community in this regard, she noted.
Jiang reiterated that China is committed to peaceful development, an independent foreign policy of peace, and a defense policy based on the right to self-defense.
China has always supported the peaceful use of space, urges international cooperation and exchanges in this regard, and pledges to never participate in any space arms race, she said.
Early repatriation of Lai Changxing urged
China's stances have not changed vis-à-vis the repatriation of highly wanted fugitive Lai Changxing, with his urgent repatriation in the common interests of both China and Canada, Jiang said.
Lai stands accused of masterminding the country's largest smuggling ring. He fled to Canada in 1999 and remains there, although he is confined to his home
Beijing wishes him repatriated to stand trial on charges of smuggling, bribery and tax evasion. However, Canadian officials are unwilling to allow Lai's extradition afraid that he may be sentenced to death. Recently, Canada's federal court held a hearing evaluating the risks involved in repatriating Li.
Sri Lanka president to visit China
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse will visit from February 26 to March 4, Jiang announced.
(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily February 14, 2007)