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President Hu to visit Japan in early May
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Chinese President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to Japan from May 6 to 10, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu announced Tuesday at a regular press conference.

Hu's visit will be the first by a Chinese president to Japan over the past decade and also his first foreign visit after he was re-elected as Chinese President.

During Hu's visit, he is expected to meet with Japan's Emperor Akihito and hold talks with Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo, Jiang said.

Hu will also have "broad contacts" with leaders of Japan's parliament and political parties and people from all circles to discuss the promotion of Sino-Japanese relations and other issues of common concern, she said.

She said China hoped that Hu's visit could enhance political trust, deepen practical cooperation in various fields and expand people-to-people exchanges, in a bid to jointly promote strategic and mutually beneficial relations.

"The improvement and development of the Sino-Japanese relationship is in the fundamental interests of both peoples and also conducive to peace, stability and development in Asia. We are ready to make joint efforts with Japan to further the relationship," Jiang said.

On the East China Sea issue, she said the foreign ministries of both countries had recently had "beneficial and deep" discussion on the issue and made some active progress, adding China is ready to make joint efforts with Japan to find a mutually acceptable solution.

Hu's visit to Japan is seen as a step to further improve the once-chilly Sino-Japanese relationship, which started to warm with the "ice-breaking" visit by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to China in October 2006. That event was followed by the "ice-thawing" Japan trip by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last April and Fukuda's "spring-herald" visit to China last December.

(Xinhua News Agency April 29, 2008)

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