China, Japan FMs to meet in Doha
Updated: 2006-05-23 11:01
The foreign ministers of China and Japan will meet on the sidelines of an
Asian forum opening in Doha on Tuesday, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman
Liu Jianchao in Beijing on Tuesday.
Foreign Ministers Li
Zhaoxing of China and Taro Aso of Japan are to meet later Tuesday at an Asian
economic conference in Doha, Qatar, Liu said.
Doha's coastal strip
on the Gulf. The foreign ministers of China and Japan, whose relations
have deteriorated in recent months, will meet on the sidelines of the
28-nation Asia Cooperation Dialogue forum opening in Doha, a Qatari
official has said. [AFP]
"The visit by Japanese
leaders to Yasukuni shrine is the main crux of the difficulties in Japan-China
relations. Definitely this issue will be discussed," Liu said in Beijing.
Critics consider the Yasukuni Shrine a glorification of Japan's wartime
conquests of East Asia, and see Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated
visits as showing approval of that stance.
China has repeatedly demanded
that Koizumi abandon further visits to the shrine as a condition for better
Koizumi argued repeatedly that he goes to Yasukuni to pray for
peace and that the visits are an internal Japanese matter. The shrine
commemorates Japan's war dead, including executed war criminals.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said last week in Tokyo that visiting the shrine
"has not helped" efforts to improve relations between Tokyo and its neighbors.
"It has created some tensions in the region which I think we need to
make some gestures to put behind us," he said.
Annan wouldn't say,
however, what kind of gestures he had in mind or who should make
Foreign ministers from the 28-nation Asia Cooperation Dialogue
"discuss matters totally unrelated to any contentious issues" in plenary
sessions, Qatari foreign ministry official Abdulrahman al-Khulaifi told
reporters late Monday.
"But bilateral meetings are held (during) the presence of the Asian foreign
ministers in the host country. For instance, the foreign minister of Japan and
the foreign minister of China will meet in Doha for the first time," he said.
Japan has been pushing for a meeting with China, which would be the first
between the Asian powers' foreign ministers in a year and the first since the
hawkish Taro Aso was appointed in October.
Energy reserves are among a number of issues that have damaged relations
between the two Asian powers, which are also divided over wartime history.
Japan and China failed last week to make a breakthrough during a fifth round
of talks on disputed gas and oil fields in the East China Sea.