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Japan urged to honour history, not war criminals
( 2004-01-13 01:00) (China Daily)

Vice-President Zeng Qinghong Monday asked the Japanese Government to handle the issue of history "appropriately" and remember the unfortunate history between China and Japan.

Zeng, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, was speaking during a meeting with Nukaga Fukushiro, chairman of the Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, and Kitagawa Kazuo, chairman of the Policy Research Council of the Komei Party. The two are leading a Japanese ruling group delegation to China.

Friendly exchanges between China and Japan over more than 2,000 years as well as the past three decades, since diplomatic ties were re-established, had seen concrete benefits to both peoples.

However, lessons from the unfortunate history of last century should not be forgotten, Zeng said.

"It is regrettable that the leader of the Japanese Government again visited the Yasukuni Shrine that honours Class-A war criminals," said Zeng.

"It seriously hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and people of other Asian nations, and undermined the political basis of Sino-Japanese relations."

On New Year's Day, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made an official visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, his fourth in three years to a site that honors Class-A war criminals. The visit provoked strong indignation from China and other Asian nations.

Zeng said the CPC and the Chinese Government have always attached great importance to relations with Japan, and hoped that the growth of a co-operative partnership on the basis of "taking history as a mirror and looking to the future" would benefit both sides.

"We hope the Japanese side will strictly observe the principles enshrined in the three joint political documents and handle the relevant history issue appropriately," Zeng said.

Nukaga said Japan viewed China as one of its most important foreign relationships.

He agreed serious lessons should be drawn from the unfortunate history, and Japan would continue to uphold the one-China policy, he noted.

He went on to say that the Japanese delegation aimed to discuss the future orientation of relations, which was crucial not only for Japan, but also for the peace and stability of Asia.

Kitagawa said the development of bilateral friendly relations would conform to the fundamental interests of Japan, and is essential to safeguard regional peace and stability.

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