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Japan urged to show sincerity
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-08 22:28

China Thursday urged the Japanese Government to show sincerity for resuming high-level visits with China.

Dressed in the long pleated trousers of a traditional, formal Japanese costume, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, left, follows the chief Shinto priest Tadashi Yuzawa as he visits Yasukuni Shrine honoring Japan's war dead, in Tokyo to pay homage in this Jan. 1, 2004 file photo. [Reuters]
"The Japanese side should show its sincerity and handle the existing issues properly so as to provide necessary conditions and atmosphere for high-level visits," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan at a regular news conference in Beijing.

The last time the two countries had a high-level visit was in April 2002, when the then Chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee Li Peng visited Japan. The bilateral relations deteriorated afterwards due to Koizumi's trips to the Yasukuni Shrine.

The shrine was built to honour Japanese soldiers who died in wars. Among those honoured were 14 Class-A Japanese war criminals from World War II, including Hideki Tojo.

The Fukuoka District Court in Japan ruled Wednesday that Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine violates the constitution but the Japanese prime minister claimed that he will continue to visit Yasukuni Shrine despite it being ruled unconstitutional.

When commenting on Koizumi's remarks, Kong said on Wednesday that China hopes that Japanese leaders will keep the promise to reflect on history and avoid activities that caused offense in countries that were victims of Japan's wartime aggression.

He stressed that taking a proper attitude towards history concerns the political basis of Sino-Japanese relations and is an important condition for Japan to be trusted by Asia and the international community.

Concern over Iraq violence

Kong expressed China's "deep worries" over the worsening security in Iraq and called for a calm approach in handling the issue.

The spokesman reiterated that the Iraqi issue should be resolved within the framework of the United Nations.

"China will not brush aside what is going on in Iraq,"Kong said. "The escalation of conflicts and the expansion in the area where the conflicts occur has made us worry."

He hoped that the related parties will remain serene, resolve issues peacefully and stop the violence soon.

A new round of violence between the Iraqis and the US-led coalition forces in Iraq has intensified recently, one year after the military campaign to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The confrontations between followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shiite cleric, and the coalition forces have spread to many Iraqi cities.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has again proposed that a special group be sent to Iraq.

"We hope that the group will promote the parties in Iraq to put forward a feasible transitional political plan to achieve 'Iraqi people governing Iraq' and lasting stability soon," said Kong. "We also hope that the related parties will provide favourable conditions for it."

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