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FMs of China and Japan set to mend fences
By Hu Xiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-29 00:03

Foreign ministers from China and Japan are likely to meet on the sidelines of Asia-Europe foreign ministerial talks in Tokyo early next month, China's foreign ministry said yesterday.

The meetings have been planned as relations between the two countries remained difficult.

China's Li Zhaoxing and Japan's Nobutaka Machimura are expected to meet during the seventh Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) for foreign ministers in Kyoto on May 6 and 7, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular briefing.

When asked whether there will be a meeting between the foreign ministers of China and Japan, Qin said: "To the best of my knowledge, there should be such arrangements."

However, he stressed the two sides should creat proper condition for higher-level exchanges between as well create the right atmosphere.

Li's meeting follows the meeting in Indonesia over the weekend between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in a tension time in Sino-Japanese relations.

Protests have been running high in Japan's neighbouring countries, including China since Japanese Government approved new middle-school textbooks early this month which distort history and whitewash its wartime atrocities.

As for the disputes on boundary demarcations at the East China Sea, Qin said China hopes for an early round of consultation with Japan on the issue, noting all questions concerned by the two sides could be raised during the consultation.

The Tokyo government recently initiated procedures to grant Japanese firms the right to conduct test drilling for potential gas and oil fields in disputed areas in the East China Sea.

Following Japan's announcement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the move was a provocation to China's rights and the norm of international relations, calling the two sides to solve the question through consultations and propose putting aside disputes and engaging in joint exploitation.

US envoy visit

The chief US envoy on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue said the United States is willing to stick to the six-party talks for a peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue through dialogue, Qin told reporters yesterday.

He quoted US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who visited China on Tuesday, as saying that the United States could "do many things" if the six- party talks were restarted.

Beijing is the second stop of Hill's three-nation trip which also took him to Seoul on Monday and Tokyo on Wednesday.

Three rounds of six-party talks have been held to try to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. The talks have been stalled since June last year when Pyongyang accused Washington of adopting hostile policy towards it.

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