Ties with Japan at 'new starting point'

Updated: 2006-12-04 08:59

China and Japan stand at a "new starting point" in their relations following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Beijing in October, Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan said in remarks published on Sunday.

Both countries expressed optimism during Abe's visit that they could mend ties that had soured over visits by Abe's predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, to a controversial war shrine, hampering progress on territorial, trade and energy disputes.

"The two countries have already broken the five-year-long political stalemate and brought bilateral ties to the normal track of development," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Tang as telling visiting Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Fuyushiba Tetsuzo.

"Standing at a new starting point, the two sides should work closely to add momentum to the long-term and stable development of their relations," Tang said.

In his meeting with Abe in October, Chinese President Hu Jintao had described Abe's visit as a "turning point" in China-Japan relations and said he hoped it would also serve as a new starting point for the improvement and development of ties.

Xinhua cited Tang as saying the two should solidify the political and economic foundations of their relationship, and that Japan should "properly handle" its ties with Taiwan and "historical issues," ostensibly over Japan's past militarism.

Tang added that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao would meet with Abe during a regional summit to be held in the Philippines later this month, Xinhua said.

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