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Wen expects closer ties with Japan

[ 2009-09-10 14:59]     字号 [] [] []  
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Premier Wen Jiabao praised the incoming Japanese prime minister's attitude to the Yasukuni Shrine yesterday and called for closer cooperation in the latest sign of warming ties between the two big Asian economies.

The Democratic Party of Japan swept the long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from power in an election late last month and has vowed to seek better ties with the country's neighbors.

Democrat leader, Yukio Hatoyama, virtually assured of becoming prime minister, has pledged not to visit the shrine while Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals are honored at the site. Many of Japan's neighbors see the Tokyo site as an offensive symbol of past military aggression.

China welcomed this step and Premier Wen's comments, reported by the Xinhua news agency, underscored hopes for smoother relations.

"China appreciates the Japanese Democratic Party's positive attitude towards relations with China, and is willing to strengthen communication and cooperation with Japan's new Cabinet, enhancing mutual confidence," Xinhua quoted Wen as saying.

The report said Wen made the remarks to a visiting Japanese business group.

Japan and China are respectively the world's second and third biggest economies and both appear eager to focus on building mutual trade and trust and downplaying frictions over wartime history, military policy and sea boundaries. Bilateral trade grew to $266.4 billion in 2008, a rise of 12.5 percent on 2007, making China the top two-way trade partner for Japan.

On Tuesday, China said it would host the new Japanese prime minister at a trilateral summit later in the year with South Korea. Hatoyama is set to be voted in as Japanese prime minister by parliament next Wednesday.

Under the LDP, Japan's ties with China veered between icy hostility and wary reconciliation. Relations sank to their coldest in decades under Junichiro Koizumi, who during his mandate from 2001 to 2006 repeatedly visited the Yasukuni Shrine.

Koizumi's LDP successors stayed away from Yasukuni and relations with Beijing warmed. But analysts suggest that even under the new government, relations between the two countries will not be free of friction.

The renewed goodwill has served to contain, rather than resolve, a dispute over natural gas beds under seas between the two countries and Japan is likely to remain wary of China's continued military modernization.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Wen expects closer ties with Japan

Wen expects closer ties with JapanBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op'Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily's Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.