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Chinese, Japanese DMs Agree to Strengthen Exchange
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Visiting Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan and his Japanese counterpart Masahiko Komura Thursday in their talks agreed to strengthen exchanges, according to diplomatic officials.

This year marks the 35 anniversary of the normalization of the Japan-China diplomatic ties and offers an important opportunity for the development of the two nations' relations, Cao said, adding that there were also challenges in bilateral ties.

"Sino-Japanese friendship benefits basic interests of the two peoples as well as peace, stability and development in Asia and the world," Cao said. "China is ready to continue working with Japan to promote healthy and stable bilateral relationship."

The Chinese defense chief noted that defense exchanges between the two neighbors should be put on a strategic level, since they are significant to the building of mutual trust and long-term friendship.

On the Taiwan issue, Cao said the issue involves China's core interest and China is trying its best to peacefully solve the issue. Some Taiwan separatists, led by Chen Shui-bian, have been plotting separatism activities of a large scale, which poses great danger to the peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits, the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the world, Cao said.

China hopes that Japan can recognize the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue and stick to the principle of the three political documents and the one-China policy, Cao said, adding that China hopes that Japan will have no official contacts with Taiwan and would not send any wrong signals to the Taiwan separatists.

Komura warmly welcomed Cao's visit. The new defense minister said building strategic, mutually beneficial relations between Japan and China has promoted bilateral ties. The two neighbors have frequent political exchanges and close economic ties and are working together in many regional and international affairs, Komura said.

The visit by a Chinese defense minister after around ten years is highly significant in promoting the two countries' understanding, mutual trust and exchanges in the security field, Komura noted, saying that the two sides should promote cooperation and work for all-round development in bilateral ties.

On the Taiwan issue, Komura said that Japan will stick to the position as stated in the three political documents and Japan does not support "Taiwan independence".

At the meeting in the morning, the two defense chiefs agreed to enhance military exchanges to promote mutual trust. They reached a number of agreements regarding Japanese defense minister's visit to China next year, China warship visit to Japan this year, as well as other defense exchange issues.

Cao is making the official good-will visit, the first for a Chinese defense minister since 1998, at the invitation of Japanese defense minister.

Earlier in the day, Cao also met with Koichi Kato, former Japanese defense agency director and other former defense leaders at a breakfast meeting.

(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2007)

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