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China praises Fukuda, eyes steady ties with Japan
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China on Tuesday pledged to continue efforts to seek steady and long-term ties with Japan after the resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

"We would like to make continued efforts with Japan for the long-term, healthy and steady progress of bilateral ties, which are in the fundamental interests of the two nations and their peoples," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press briefing.

The comments came after Fukuda announced his sudden resignation on Monday evening.

Terming Fukuda's resignation "Japan's internal affair," Jiang said China-Japan ties had maintained a good momentum in recent years with strategic and mutually beneficial relations continually deepening.

Sino-Japanese ties have warmed since 2006 after the exit of then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who regularly made high-profile visits to the Yasukuni Shrine which honors 14 class A war criminals in the invasion of China during World War II.

While attributing the ties to the governments and people of various circles in China and Japan, Jiang said, "Fukuda had made important contributions, which China highly appreciated."

Since taking office in September 2007, Fukuda had sought various ways to improve Japan's ties with China. He held high-profile talks with the Chinese leadership during his trip to China last December. He hosted a visit by President Hu Jintao in May. He also attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

(Xinhua News Agency September 3, 2008)

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