Premier Wen Jiabao is likely to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on the sidelines of high-level East Asian meetings, scheduled for next week in Singapore, Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei said yesterday.
Diplomats from both sides are in "contact" to "arrange" the meeting, He said at a press conference in Beijing. Wen will leave for Singapore on Sunday on an official visit.
"It would be the first meeting between them (since Fukuda assumed the prime minister's post)," He said. "I believe they will exchange views on China-Japan relations and discuss how to enrich the strategic ties of mutual benefit and other issues of common concern."
If realized, the meeting will play a significant role in promoting bilateral ties, he said.
The two countries failed to resolve a dispute over gas exploration rights in the East China Sea at a new round of talks in Tokyo yesterday, but they agreed that there was a need to increase political efforts.
Wen's visit to Singapore will be the first by a Chinese premier in eight years. He will attend the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its dialogue partners.
The high-level East Asian meetings include the 11th ASEAN-China Summit, the 11th ASEAN 10+3 (ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea) Summit and the third East Asia Summit. Wen will attend the eighth Chinese, Japanese and South Korean Leaders' Meeting, too.
Wen is attending the meetings to increase reciprocal understanding and mutual political trust between China and its neighboring countries, strengthen partnership in East Asia and promote "harmonious, common and sustainable development" among East Asian nations, He told reporters.
The 10+3 summit is expected to produce a joint statement on East Asia cooperation and a specific cooperation plan between ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea for the next decade, He said. It will push for the cooperative mechanism to continue playing its role of promoting peace, stability and development in the region.
At the East Asia Summit, Wen will explain China's position on climate change and the measures it has taken and will take to deal with global warming, He said.
Responding to a question on whether the Myanmar issue would be discussed at the meetings, He said the issue won't be the focus of any discussion because the agenda will comprise regional cooperation, energy and the environment.
The Myanmar situation is going in the right direction, He said. "We hope related parties continue to intensify dialogue to promote national reconciliation and seek democracy and economic development."
(China Daily November 15, 2007)