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Hu, Fukuda discuss closer bilateral ties
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Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda held talks in Tokyo Wednesday on furthering the strategic and mutually beneficial relations between the two countries.

Chinese Foreign Ministry officials said the two leaders discussed bilateral relations and other issues of common concern.

The two leaders are expected to attend a signing ceremony for mutual cooperation documents and meet the press following their talks.

Earlier in the day, the Chinese president met Japanese Emperor Akihito, who hosted a welcome ceremony for the visiting Chinese leader.

Hu arrived in Tokyo Tuesday for a five-day state visit aimed at boosting bilateral relations. This marks the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Japan in 10 years.

In a written statement issued at the airport upon his arrival in Tokyo, the president said the development of a long-term stable and good neighborly relationship between China and Japan is in the fundamental interests of both countries and both peoples.

Hu expressed the hope that his visit will help enhance mutual trust, strengthen friendship, deepen cooperation and inspire plans for the future. He added that China will work together with Japan to open up new prospects for comprehensively pushing forward their strategic and mutually beneficial relations.

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

In an interview with Japanese journalists in Beijing on Sunday, Hu described his visit to Japan as a "trip of warm spring" and wished for a "warm spring for the friendship between the two peoples."

(Xinhua News Agency May 7, 2008)

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