Japan urged to take substantive action to improve ties
Updated: 2006-09-21 21:17

BEIJING -- China on Thursday urged Japan to take substantive action to show its commitment to improving China-Japan ties.

"China hopes the new leader of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will match his actions to his words, and make concrete efforts to improve and develop bilateral ties," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a routine press conference.

His remarks came one day after Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe was elected head of Japan's ruling LDP, which means he will succeed outgoing Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi next week.

The top priority at this time is to eradicate the obstacles to improved China-Japan relations, said Qin.

"The proper and correct handling of the history issue and the Taiwan issue constitutes the political basis for China-Japan relations."

Sino-Japanese relations have been soured by Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, where Japan's war dead, including 14 class A Second World War criminals, are honored.

Koizumi's last shrine visit on August 15, the 61st anniversary of his country's surrender, further damaged relations.

Qin said China had maintained a "clear and consistent" attitude on China-Japan relations, including the Yasukuni Shrine and other historical issues.

China has always attached great importance to China-Japan ties and would like to advance by learning from history and looking forward to the future, said Qin.

When asked to assess Koizumi's foreign policy, Qin said, "Koizumi has held the office of prime minister for five years. During his time in charge, the changes in China-Japan ties were visible to everybody."

"As for the new leader of Japan, we will listen to his words and observe his deeds," Qin said.