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China, Japan to elevate economic ties
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Premier Wen Jiabao called yesterday for China and Japan to seize the opportunity to realize the sustainable, stable and healthy development of bilateral economic and trade relations.

China and Japan are important trading partners, and strengthening economic cooperation is conducive to the strategic mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries, Wen told visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura.

Komura, who is on his first visit to China since taking office last September, led the Japanese delegation to the first China-Japan high-level economic dialogue held on Saturday afternoon in Beijing. 

"The economic dialogue aims to increase exchanges on development strategies and macro-economic management," Wen said, adding that the establishment of the mechanism will help facilitate cross-departmental cooperation for both sides. 

As next year is the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan, Wen called for both sides to grasp the opportunity and further strengthen exchanges. 

Komura said the first high-level economic dialogue was a success because both sides had frank discussions on issues such as economic policies, energy saving, environmental protection, and trade and investment. 

Mitsuo Sakaba, press secretary to Komura, told reporters after the meeting that Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda would visit China at the end of the month or early next month; and that Japan had invited President Hu Jintao to visit during the "cherry blossom season" (early April). 

In his meeting with Komura on Saturday, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the two countries should enhance cooperation to ensure the success of the coming visit to China by Fukuda. 

Yang said that both sides should work to strengthen economic relations by focusing on collaboration in energy and environmental protection. 

Komura reiterated that Japan does not support Taiwan "joining the United Nations" and opposes any unilateral change of the status quo across the Taiwan Straits.

On the East China Sea issue, Yang said maintaining friendly consultations is the only correct solution to the issue and a realistic way to resolve disputes in joint exploration. 

Yang and Komura also exchanged views on international and regional issues such as nuclear issue on Korean Peninsula, Myanmar, and East Asia cooperation.

The two foreign ministers also signed agreements on mutual cooperation in criminal investigations and on Japan's final batch of yen loans to China. 

Japan will offer $414 million in loans for the construction of seven environmental protection projects.

The two sides agreed that the second meeting of the high-level economic dialogue would take place in Tokyo next year. 

(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2007)

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