Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will meet his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso on
the sidelines of the ongoing Asia Co-operation Dialogue in Qatar, it was
It will be the first meeting between the foreign ministers in a year and the
first since Aso was appointed in October last year.
Beijing has refused any high-level contact with Tokyo after Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi began paying homage at Yasukuni shrine a symbol of
Japan's past militarism since taking office in 2001.
In the past two weeks, the two sides have held consultations on the meeting,
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.
"The Yasukuni visits by Japanese leaders are the crux of the problem in
Sino-Japanese relations, so definitely this issue will be discussed," Liu said.
China has made a lot of effort to improve bilateral ties and "we hope the
Japanese side can reciprocate by making the meeting conducive to the improvement
of bilateral relations," Liu said.
Japan experts are cautious about the outcome of the meeting.
"It depends on whether Japan will take concrete steps to improve relations,"
said Wang Yusheng, an expert on international relations in Beijing.
"I expect some progress, because I believe it is meaningless if the meeting
takes place just for the sake of formality." So, Japan needs to take
demonstrable action to prove its sincerity, he added.
At yesterday's news briefing, Liu also disclosed that US Assistant Secretary
of State Christopher Hill will visit China today to exchange views on the
Hill, also the US chief negotiator for the Six-Party Talks on the Korean
nuclear issue, will meet Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei.
"At present, the Six-Party Talks faces difficulties, even severe problems,"
He called on all parties concerned to adopt a flexible and pragmatic attitude
to try and achieve progress in the talks.