Japan to end freeze on China aid loan
Updated: 2006-06-05 07:17
Japan mulls lifting the freeze on aid loans to China for fiscal 2005 in a
strong push to rectify its crippled foreign policy plagued by faltered ties with
China's Minister of foreign
affairs Li Zhaoxing, left, and Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso, second
left, arrive for a bilateral talk at the opening of The Fifth Asian
Cooperation Dialogue Conference held in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday, May 23,
2006. Others unidentified. [AP]
The move on
the part of Japan is apparently aimed at giving a boost to mending the soured
sino-Japanese relationship, after Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing agreed
last month on the sidelines of the fifth ministerial meeting of the Asia
Cooperation Dialogue in Doha to promote exchanges in economic, defense and other
Li Zhaoxing said at the May meeting that the Chinese government has attached
great importance to developing Sino-Japanese friendship and is ready to promote
good-neighborly and cooperative ties with Japan based on drawing on lessons from
the history and looking to the future.
Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine which honors 14 top war
criminals has made the bilateral relationship at the ebb.
"A trend toward in improvement in Sino-Japanese ties is developing," said
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso. He added that extending yen loans would
further accelerate such moves.
The end to the loan freeze will be confirmed by Japan's
top decision-making panel on foreign aid strategy comprising Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Foreign Ministry Taro Aso and other ministers
sometime this week.
At the same time, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso plans to visit Beijing
sometime after the Group of Eight summit in Russia in mid-July, in a bid to mend
The amount of yen loans to China has been declining since peaking in fiscal
2000, with the figure coming to 85.9 billion yen for fiscal 2004. The Japanese
government is also considering reducing the yen loans for fiscal 2005.
The Japanese Cabinet traditionally approves yen loans during the fiscal year
they are earmarked for. However, the procedure was put on ice in fiscal 2005 due
to the frosty state of bilateral ties.