Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held "heart-to-heart" talks with
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Friday, and both stressed
joint efforts to promote bilateral relations, saying "a spring has
come" for China-Japan ties.
Later in the afternoon, Chinese President Hu Jintao and top legislator Wu Bangguo met with Fukuda, respectively, after
he spoke at the elite Peking University.
Friday's talks took place in the Great Hall of the People after
a red-carpet welcoming ceremony. Wen said a morning snowfall
indicated both "an auspicious and abundant year" and a new start of
the China-Japan relations.
Fukuda described their talks as "a heart-to-heart dialogue" and
said he was determined to treat bilateral relations earnestly "in
the new year to come".
Wen said Sino-Japanese relations had entered "an important
period of improvement and development", adding that he would like
to work with Fukuda to jointly seize opportunities so as to
"promote a new and greater development of strategic and mutually
beneficial China-Japan relations".
The premier and Fukuda had a "friendly telephone call" only four
days after Fukuda assumed his premiership. They also met over lunch
during an Asian summit in Singapore last month. "As it shows, we
have established a sound work relationship," the premier said.
Fukuda said that China-Japan relations offered "huge
opportunities and responsibilities". Fukuda added he hoped the two
countries could cooperate for the future of Asia and the world.
Wen proposed the two countries should maintain momentum through
mutual visits and meetings at various multilateral occasions by the
two state leaders and conduct high-level coordination on issues of
common concern to achieve enhanced political mutual trust.
He also suggested the two nations should cooperate in such key
areas as energy, environment, finance, high-tech, telecom and
intellectual property protection to boost the quality and
efficiency of China-Japan economic and trade cooperation.
The two countries should further conduct personnel exchanges to
strengthen China-Japan friendship, Wen said.
Fukuda's visit, three months after he took office, was the first
to China by a Japanese prime minister since Shinzo Abe visited
Beijing last October.
It was the third overseas trip of Fukuda's premiership after
visits to the United States and Singapore.
Next year, the two countries would mark the 30th anniversary of
the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship.
Meanwhile, youth exchange programs would be further promoted as the
two countries observed the China-Japan Friendly Exchange Year of
the Youth in 2008.
As China would also host the Olympics next year, Fukuda said
Japan would "vigorously support" China and "sincerely look forward
to" the success of the Games. Wen also expressed a warm welcome for
Japan to take part in the Olympiad.
"To maintain and strengthen the China-Japan friendly ties is the
only correct choice of the two countries," Wen said. "It is in line
with the fundamental interests of their two peoples and is
conducive to the peace and development of northeastern Asia, and
the continent as a whole."
The premier said the two nations would strengthen defense
exchanges and security dialogues, and schedule "in good time" a
China visit by Japan's defense minister and the maritime
He said China and Japan should "properly and cautiously" handle
historical and Taiwan issues to safeguard the political basis of
the bilateral relations.
Fukuda said Japan would "very earnestly" reflect on the
agonizing part of history and continue to follow the path of
peaceful development so as to establish "forward-looking
China-Japan relations". The two nations had a long-time
disagreement on wartime history.
Wen and Fukuda also exchanged views on resources development in
the East China Sea and the Taiwan issue.
Shi Yinhong, a professor with the Institute of International
Relations under Beijing's Renmin University of China, pointed out
that Japan no longer "assumed a dodgy attitude" over the Taiwan
issue. It made it clear that Japan would give no support to the
claims of "one China, one Taiwan", "Taiwan independence" or Taiwan
authorities' attempts to join the United Nations and to seek UN
membership through "referendum".
Shi considered it as "significant fruit" of the Chinese
diplomacy towards Japan that "created favorable conditions" to
continuously improve and develop the Sino-Japanese relations.
The professor believed the East China Sea issue was "very
complicated" and the problem would not be solved "in one day" as
there were differences in the stands of the two parties.
"It needs the two to conduct frequent, sincere, careful and
patient negotiations," Shi said.
During their talks, Wen and Fukuda also touched upon the
assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on
Thursday. Both expressed strong opposition against terrorist
Wen also invited Fukuda, a former university athlete, to play
baseball player. During Wen's "ice-thawing" trip to Japan in April,
the premier played baseball with Japanese college students. The
baseball invitation unveiled at Friday's talks, set the dialogue
tone as "easy and pleasant".
Xu Dunxin, former Chinese ambassador to Japan, attended the
following luncheon hosted by Wen. "The joyous atmosphere at lunch
shows that the two parties are satisfied with the meeting and are
confident of the future of the bilateral relations," he said.
Xu said Friday's dialogue pointed to a new direction for the
Sino-Japanese relations and promised to strengthen joint efforts to
resolve hard issues that were not able to produce major achievement
"All these fruits are hard-won and gratify the two parties," Xu
After the talks, the two witnessed the signing of three
cooperation documents in fields of youth exchanges, technical
cooperation on climate change, and new joint research on
Speaking to college students, Fukuda said his name, which means
"happiness" in the Chinese language, indicated, "happiness has
While meeting with Fukuda, President Hu said a sound China-Japan
relations were "shared wishes" of the two nations and "shared
responsibilities and missions" of the leaders of the two countries.
Hu called for appropriately settling major sensitive issues.
The two countries also agreed that Hu would visit Japan next
year "in a cherry blossom spring". It would be the first visit by a
Chinese president after 10 years.
During Fukuda's four-day tour, he would also visit an economic
development zone in Tianjin on Saturday and the hometown of
Confucius in Qufu, Shandong Province, on Sunday before flying back
(Xinhua News Agency December 29, 2007)