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Tang: Japan failed trust of the Chinese people
Updated: 2005-04-19 00:04

China is committed to improving relations with Japan, and hopes Japan show the same commitment in return, Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan said in Beijing yesterday.

"As long as the two sides can properly handle historical and Taiwan issues, the political foundation of the Sino-Japanese relationship will be consolidated, bilateral ties will be furthered, and the cause of Sino-Japanese friendship will be comprehensively improved," said Tang during a meeting with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura Nobutaka.

Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura (L) meets with State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan in Beijing April 18, 2005. [Reuters]
Welcoming the Japanese foreign minister to China at "a difficult time for China-Japan relations," Tang pointed out that the Japanese side had "repeatedly failed the trust of the Chinese people" and had been "driving in reverse gear" on issues like history and Taiwan in recent years.

"This has done damage to the friendly relations between China and Japan, as well as to the friendly sentiments between the two peoples, which are the hard-won results of painstaking efforts by older generations of politicians from both countries," lamented Tang.

"Such a result is not in the interest of China, neither of Japan," said Tang, who urged Japan to "seriously review" what it had done and to take concrete measures to correct its doings.

Tang said China and Japan were close neighbours and countries of significant influence in the world. "Therefore the two peoples should be friends from one generation to the next, which conforms to the fundamental interests of both countries and to the need for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world."

"This should be a fundamental stand for the two governments and people from all circles in both countries to adhere to while examining and handling bilateral ties," Tang added.

Tang went on to say the Chinese Government was committed to stabilizing, improving and developing relations with Japan, based on the three political documents accepted by both countries and in the spirit of "learning from history and facing up to the future."

Nobutaka said during the meeting Japan was clearly aware of China's strong concerns over issues like history and Taiwan.

There was no change of Japan's attitude of remorse on the history issue as expressed by former Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi in 1995, and no change of its stance on the Taiwan issue as clearly written in the three political documents between the two countries, said the minister.

"Japan does not support 'Taiwan's independence'," he said.

According to a poll published by the Mainichi Shimbun daily yesterday in Tokyo, three-quarters of the Japanese people believe their Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has not made sufficient efforts to improve ties with China.

Asked what has caused the difficulties, 26 per cent mentioned the Japanese Government's refusal to show remorse for Japan's wartime crimes and 13 per cent blamed Koizumi's repeated visits to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine, where 14 Class A war criminals of World War II are honored.

On Koizumi's controversial shrine visits, 45 per cent said he should stop visiting it, up 4 percentage points from last December.

The approval rating for Koizumi's Cabinet came to 42 per cent, down one percentage point from a month earlier. The disapproval rating, meanwhile, edged up two points from the previous survey to 35 per cent.

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