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China, Japan vow to continue dialogue through ruling party mechanism



BEIJING, Feb. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Senior party officials from China and Japan called their first regular dialogue "frank" and "insightful" as they concluded a one-and-half-day meeting in Beijing Wednesday morning.

    Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) Central Committee, said that both sides showed sincerity and motivation in carrying out the dialogue in an "extensive and practical" way.

    Hidenao Nakagawa, the No. 3 leader of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said exchanges between the ruling parties of Japan and China are an important channel of communication between the two countries. He said although there are differences of opinion between the two sides, he sincerely hopes that the dialogue will continue.

    Nakagawa, chairman of the party Policy Research Council, headedthe 8-member delegation of the Japanese ruling coalition to Beijing, which took part in the first meeting under a mechanism of exchanges between the governing parties of China and Japan. Among the Japanese delegation is Yoshihisa Inoue, Policy Research Council chairman of LDP's alliance Komei Party.

    The Chinese side was headed by Wang Jiarui and consisted of some 20 prominent figures.

    The two sides fully expressed their views on the current state and problems of China-Japan relations, the prospects for bilateral relations, trade and economic cooperation, foreign policies and defense policies.

    The major difference lies in the issue of Japanese leader's visit to a war shrine honoring 14 convicted war criminals during Japan's war of aggression against China and other Asian countries.

    Wang said China-Japan relations are now "at a critical crossroad facing the historic challenge of what course to follow."

    The root of the problem lies in the Japanese leader's insistence on visiting the Yasukuni Shrine that honors top-class war criminals of the World War II.

    The current state of China-Japan relations is abnormal and disharmonious, Wang said.

    He noted that the CPC and the Chinese government have a clear guideline, sincere motivation and earnest attitude toward the development of good-neighborly, friendly and cooperative relationship with Japan. However, the Chinese side has yet to receive any positive response from the Japanese side, Wang said.

    During the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of China's victory in the war against Japanese aggression last September, Chinese President Hu Jintao said the nation's emphasis on the needto always remember the past does "not mean to continue the hatred." Hu reaffirmed the policy to carry forward China-Japan friendship and cooperation.

    The president also called on the Japanese government and its leaders to translate the apologies and remorse of the war into concrete actions.

    However, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid yet another visit to the Yasukuni Shrine last October. He said later that he would continue to visit the controversial war shrine. Koizumi even went on to say that the visit is an internal affair and that other countries have no right to intervene.

    Wang Jiarui said the Chinese side could not understand why Japan, a country that has repeatedly made clear it will understandand respect the feelings the people of the countries victimized byJapanese aggression, regards the people's feelings of those neighbor countries as external intervention.

    He said China could not understand why the Japanese leader has again and again torn apart the scar of war on the victimized people by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine for five consecutive years.

    Wang said the core solution of the problems in bilateral relations lies in the improvement of political relations. The shrine visits by the Japanese leaders is of overall significance and concerns whether the China-Japan relations could develop in a healthy and stable way, Wand said.

    "It is absolutely not a minor difference (between the two countries)," he said.

    Wang said under the current situation, the key to breaking the deadlock, improving bilateral relations and opening up a new situation is in the hands of the Japanese leader, who should stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine.

    The Japanese leaders should show duepolitical wisdom and courage to make a decision on stopping shrinevisits, Wang said.

    Wang Yingfan, vice president of the Foreign Affairs Committee under China's legislature National People's Congress (NPC), said at the meeting that the Chinese side has no room for concessions or compromise on the historical issue.

    It is the demand of the Chinese people and the people of more and more countries in Asia and the world that Japanese leaders should stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine. He called on the Japanese leaders to respond to the call of the times and stop the shrine visit as soon as possible.

    Nakagawa said he had listened carefully to the opinions of the Chinese side and will convey the opinions to the Japanese people, the Japanese government and its leaders.

    Official from both parties in the Japanese ruling coalition expressed anxiety over the current situation of bilateral relations. They expressed willingness to continue communication with the CPC to explore practical and concrete measures of breaking the deadlock in bilateral links.

    "In fields other than politics, a series of substantive work should be given priority," Wang Jiarui said.

    "China and Japan should properly resolve the problems and disputes through dialogue and equal consultations," Wang said in his keynote speech at the meeting. "So we could prevent the overall China-Japan situation from new interferences and impacts."

    The two countries should particularly step up economic cooperation, Wang said."So we could protect the prospering economic ties from the effects of the political chill, which have already seen a slower growth in 2005.

    "Moreover, the two countries should also enhance the exchanges in fields of culture, sports and youth, in a bid to promote mutualunderstanding and trust," Wang said.

    Wang also called for the correct and effective guidance on media and people's feelings in the two countries. "Both China and Japan should take historical and global views on handling bilateral ties," Wang said.

    The Feb. 21-22 meeting is the first meeting between the CPC andthe Japanese governing coalition since they established an exchange mechanism in March 2004.

    The Japanese side has proposed to hold the second meeting in Japan early next year. But the timing and agenda of the meeting are yet to be decided. Enditem (by Xinhua writer Liu Dongkai )

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