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Strategic talks to precede Hu's visit to Japan
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State councilor Tang Jiaxuan reached Tokyo Wednesday to pave the road for President Hu Jintao's visit in April.

But before Hu's visit, Beijing will host the eighth strategic dialogue between China and Japan, from February 22 to 23, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart Mitoji Yabunaka will head the two countries' respective delegations at the dialogue, where in-depth views would be exchanged on ways to enhance strategic mutual trust and cooperation, Liu said.

The strategic dialogue began in 2005, and the last one was held in China on January 27, 2007.

China's former ambassador to Japan Xu Dunxin said the recent frequent high-level exchanges between the neighboring countries show how important this year is for bilateral ties.

Sino-Japanese ties have entered the track of normal development, especially after last year's visits by Premier Wen Jiabao to Japan and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to China, he said.

"President Hu's visit to Japan in April is of key importance because it is the first by a Chinese president in 10 years." Also, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty, Xu said.

"The recent diplomatic visits are all in preparation for this year's key diplomatic events. The two governments attach great importance to President Hu's visit and hope it will achieve substantive progress," Xu said.

On the recent food safety disputes between the two countries, the former ambassador said such things are unavoidable in today's globalized economy.

"Bilateral trade is beneficial for both sides. I suggest the parties involved, especially the media, resort to a scientific, serious and frank attitude on the issue. They should focus on ways to solve the problem instead of clamoring before the facts are clear."

So far the Japanese government's attitude on the issue has been relatively calm, Xu said.

(China Daily February 21, 2008)

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