China, Japan warms up for Premier's April tour

Updated: 2007-03-16 22:11

BEIJING -- As Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's scheduled visit to Japan in April approaches, a favorable atmosphere is being created for the visit, the first of its kind in seven years.

"China is ready to make joint efforts with Japan to promote healthy and steady development of China-Japan relations," Chinese President Hu Jintao told visiting Hidenao Nakagawa, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and Kazuo Kitagawa, secretary general of the ruling coalition partner New Komeito on Friday afternoon.

Nakagawa and Kazuo Kitagawa arrived here Thursday for a five-day visit to China.

Hu said that the two countries should continuously enhance political trust, properly handle sensitive issues and work for a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests.

Nakagawa told Hu that Japan holds that China, who is seeking to build a harmonious society and become an economic power, is not a threat to Japan, and Japan, who is striving to become a political power, poses no threat to China.

Nakagawa called the consensus of building a strategic and mutually beneficial relationship a "wise decision" made by the two countries' leaders, saying the Japanese ruling parties are ready to make joint efforts with the Chinese side to push bilateral relations toward common strategic goals.

Before Nakagawa and Kazuo Kitagawa came to China, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told them he hoped their trip to China would help create a sound environment for Premier Wen's visit to Japan.

Abe also asked them to deliver a letter to President Hu.

Premier Wen described on Friday at a press conference his planned visit to Japan in April as an "ice-melting journey" for the bilateral relations, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "ice-breaking journey" to China last October.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations and is also the Year of Cultural and Sports Exchanges between them.

Hu said the two events provide important opportunities for the development of bilateral relations.

Hu suggested China and Japan strengthen trade and economic cooperation, and expand exchanges in the fields of culture, sports and science and technology, so as to bring about real benefits for the two peoples and lay a solid foundation for the friendship between the two countries for generations.

"The two countries should strengthen contacts and coordination on regional and international issues to jointly face regional and global tasks and challenges, and jointly strive to build a harmonious world featuring lasting peace and common prosperity," said Hu.

Kitagawa said this year is an important period for Japan-China relations. "Japan hopes to expand exchanges, contacts and cooperation through unremitting joint efforts to promote the friendship between Japan and China in a new era," he said.

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