Abe to push for summit with China - report
Updated: 2006-09-25 08:54

TOKYO - A senior adviser to Japan's soon-to-be premier Shinzo Abe vowed Sunday to repair damaged ties with China, saying Tokyo will lobby hard for the first leaders' summit with Beijing since last year.

"Relations will definitely begin to improve," Liberal Democratic Party policy chief Hidenao Nakagawa, considered one of Abe's key advisers, said on a talk show aired by public broadcaster NHK. "I think we are moving toward a brighter era."

Japan will "do its best" to arrange a meeting between Abe and Chinese President Hu Jintao, Nakagawa said, but added that Tokyo will not give in to all of China's demands.

"It's important both sides make an effort," said Nakagawa later on TV Asahi. "Japan will not compromise on all fronts just to hold talks."

A summit would be a major breakthrough for the two Asian powers, who are at odds politically despite flourishing business ties.

Beijing's anger over repeated visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine by outgoing Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has halted top-level meetings for more than a year.

The shrine, which honors executed war criminal among millions of Japanese war dead, has become the target of criticism from China and other nations that believe Japan's leaders haven't fully atoned for the country's wartime atrocities in Asia.

Nakagawa insisted that Abe would be mindful of the region's sensitivities.

"He recognizes that Japan brought great suffering to many countries ... and that Japan is built on remorse over its actions," he said.

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi met with his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo in Tokyo on Saturday, attempting to resolve a host of problems that have cooled relations.

The two countries are sparring over territorial and resource disputes, interpretations of history, and Japan's military alliance with the United States.

"There are many unresolved issues, and the talks will continue," Yachi told reporters Sunday.

Abe scored a landslide victory in elections for the LDP presidency on Wednesday, a post that virtually guarantees he will become prime minister when parliament meets Tuesday.