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Dalian: China and Japan called for efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula yesterday, saying both sides "share the same goal" of making the zone nuclear-free.
Both countries should push forward the process of denuclearizing the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Wu Jianghao, deputy chief of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Asian Affairs, said on the sidelines of the Fifth Beijing-Tokyo Forum in Dalian.
Themed "China-Japan Cooperative Scheme and Asian Security", the security discussion forum was held in the city's Furama Hotel, one of the oldest projects co-owned by Beijing and Tokyo.
"We should support reconciliation between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and support normalization of DPRK-US and DPRK-Japan ties," Wu said.
The DPRK launched its second nuclear test in May and test-fired a bunch of missiles thereafter, putting regional security on high alert.
He said that the DPRK "wishes to approach Japan's new leadership to discuss ways" to improve ties. "I hope Japan seizes the opportunity to make an active effort and make Japan's contribution."
Yukihisa Fujita, a Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) member of the House of Councilors, said Japan, as the only victim of nuclear weapons, would make a sincere effort to achieve its dream of a nuclear-free world.
"We hope China to dominate the denuclearization process of northeast Asia," Fujita said, referring to Beijing's historical friendly ties with Pyongyang.
Trilateral ties important
China also hoped for strengthened trilateral ties between Beijing, Tokyo and Washington to ensure regional peace at yesterday's forum.
"We should push forward for a balanced development of trilateral ties between China, Japan and the US," Wu said.
"China does not intend for G2 (Group of Two) with the United States. We don't want to reject Japan."
Regional balance of power in the Asia Pacific is undergoing major changes since the outbreak of the unprecedented global economic crisis. While China is now the world's third largest economy - and may even overtake Japan to be the second biggest soon - influence of the US-Japan alliance is on the decline.
As most observers note that the regional balance is shifting gradually in China's favor, some well-known former American officials and scholars, notably former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, suggested earlier this year that Beijing and Washington should form a G2.
Beijing is not interested in that plan. Wu noted multilateral cooperation is on the rise in the region since the outburst of the economic crisis.
But he urged that the US-Japan security alliance "should not harm any third party's interest", without elaborating further.
Taiwan-born Lin Liyun, a consultant of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, said the security arrangement of the US-Japan alliance should keep away from Taiwan issues, which is "China's domestic affair".
Since the DPJ came to power in September, ties between Tokyo and Washington have seen shaky ground.
Headed by Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the DPJ is now closer to Asia, not the US as its predecessor the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would have it since the 1990s.
The new leadership has vowed to stop Japan's fueling mission on the Indian Ocean to support the US-led war on Afghanistan in January next year.
The move has stirred a debate on Tokyo's foreign policy.
Gen Nakatani, LDP member of Japan's House of Representatives and former chief of the Defense Agency when Ichiro Junichiro served as the prime minister, said Japan's foreign policy "should be consistent".
"We're looking at a big mess if we don't manage ties with the US properly," Nakatani said.
However, Fujita said Japan had "leaned too much in favor " of the US under the LDP leadership.
"We need to review many issues of the US-Japan alliance," Fujita said. "Both Asia and the US are as important for the Japanese foreign policy."
Taking the war in Afghanistan as an example, he said Japan "should support UN-endorsed missions, but not US-forced missions."
"Japan needs a new vision for security," he said.