China, Japan starts 7th round of strategic dialogue

Updated: 2007-01-25 18:39

BEIJING -- The vice foreign ministers for China and Japan smiled and traded jokes prior to the start on Thursday of the 7th round of strategic dialogue -- a sure sign of warming relations between the two countries.

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Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and Japanese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Yachi Shotaro head the two delegations at the three-day meeting.

"As participants in the dialogue, both of us are happy about the positive changes in bilateral ties," Dai told Shotaro before their closed door meetings began.

Echoing Dai's views, Shotaro joked that it was the first time that he smiled while talking with Chinese officials at the strategic dialogue.

The first round of the strategic dialogue was held in Beijing in May 2005.

"China-Japan strategic dialogue was initiated at a time when bilateral relations were faced with great difficulties," Dai said in his opening remarks in Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

"The strategic dialogue played a role in removing political obstacles in bilateral relations and getting the relations back on track," Dai said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a landmark visit to China last October, the first since Abe took office last September. Abe's visit was widely seen as a "turning point" in China-Japan relations.

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