CEBU, The Philippines: In a sign of
warming bilateral relations, Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday accepted Japanese
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's invitation to visit Japan in spring.
|Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) shakes
hands with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao before a bilateral meeting during
the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in
Cebu, Philippines, January 14, 2007. [Reuters]
The leaders held a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of the East Asian
summits in the island resort of Cebu. They are in the Philippines also to
discuss trade and other issues with ASEAN members.
Japanese media quoted the country's diplomatic sources as having said that
Wen was likely to visit the country in April, but the Chinese Foreign Ministry
gave no specifics.
relations are returning to normal, a fact that both sides should appreciate;
they should also make greater efforts to keep the diplomatic ball rolling, Wen
told Abe at the beginning of the meeting.
He said the improvement in bilateral ties suited the fundamental interests of
both countries and was widely welcomed by the international community.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese
ties, with next year being the 30th anniversary of the signing of the
Sino-Japanese Peace and Friendship Treaty. Both are important opportunities to
further develop bilateral ties, and the two sides should deal with them from
long-term and strategic perspectives, he said.
Handling of the two countries' historical issues properly is vital for the
healthy and stable development of bilateral ties, Wen said.
Sino-Japanese relations were strained during former prime minister Junichiro
Koizumi's five-year term because of his repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine,
a symbol of Japan's past militarism.
Abe visited Beijing his first overseas trip as prime minister in early
October shortly after assuming office in September.
During the ice-breaking visit, the two countries agreed to build a strategic
relationship of mutual interest, and to resume high-level visits and expand
relations by maintaining high-level contacts.
Wen hoped Japan would abide by the principles laid out in the three political
documents signed by the Chinese and Japanese governments and keep its promise to
avoid straining bilateral relations over the historical issues again.
Abe responded that he had clarified his stance on the historical issues
during his visit to China. Japan is ready to follow the principles and spirit
laid out in the three political documents, he said.
"We look back on history modestly and we follow the path of a pacifist
country" that is Japan's position on historical issues, Abe said.
(China Daily 01/15/2007 page1)