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Japan, China to hold talks February 10-11
Updated: 2006-01-26 09:03

Japan and China have agreed to hold subcabinet-level talks on February 10 and 11 in Tokyo to discuss how they can resume meetings between their leaders, which have been in abeyance because of strained bilateral ties, Japanese Foreign Ministry sources said Wednesday.

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo will attend the talks. The last subcabinet-level talks were held in October last year in Beijing.

Japan is likely to sound out China about resuming talks between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao as well as the foreign ministers of the two countries.

Koizumi's latest visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in October put a stop to all contacts between the leaders of the two countries.

China is among Asian countries which suffered under Japanese militarism before and during World War II and have protested against Koizumi's visits to the Tokyo shrine, which honors Japanese Class-A war criminals along with the war dead.

Japan is also expected to urge China to study a Japanese proposal for joint research of bilateral history as part of efforts to help ease the current tensions, the sources said.

Japan Times reported that Tokyo will propose conducting joint historical research on the bilateral relationship to ease growing tensions over past events.

Differing interpretations of history, especially Japan's invasion of China in the early 20th century, have long poisoned postwar relations between the Asian giants.

Japan will suggest that scholars from each country discuss historical issues spanning ancient to modern times, they said.

Working-level talks have been suspended since Beijing angrily protested Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni Shrine last year. The October visit put a stop to all contacts between the leaders of the two countries.

The Yachi-Dai talks are also likely to touch on the bilateral dispute over China's natural gas project in the East China Sea, as well as the suicide of a staff member of the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai in May 2004.

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