SINGAPORE - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with his Japanese counterpart, Yasuo Fukuda, Tuesday on the sidelines of a series of ASEAN meetings here.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L), South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun (C) and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda shake hands before their trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 13th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Singapore November 20, 2007. [Agencies]
Fukuda, a well-known Japanese politician, telephoned the Chinese government only four days after taking office, which indicates that he attaches great importance to relations between the two countries, Wen said.
The Chinese people are familiar with the Japanese prime minister, whose late father, former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, signed a treaty of friendly cooperation with China 30 years ago, he added.
Wen said that now, China-Japan relations are at a historical stage of significant development and an important turning point.
"I hope we will make concerted efforts and grasp this opportunity to push forward the continuous development of bilateral ties," he said.
For his part, Fukuda said he once had a meeting with Wen four years ago.
He said the Chinese premier's speech at the Japanese parliament in April has left a deep impression on Japanese lawmakers and nationals.
It is Wen's first meeting with Fukuda since the Japanese prime minister took office in September.
In April, Wen paid a three-day official visit to Japan, during which he reached consensus with Japanese leaders on forging a strategic, mutually beneficial relationship.
The year 2007 marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between China and Japan.
Japan is now China's third-largest trading partner, while China is Japan's second-largest trading partner.
The China-Japan trade volume reached US$207.36 billion in 2006, a 200-fold increase over the 1.1 billion dollars in 1972.