Chinese premier on landmark Japan visit

Wen Jiabao arrived Wednesday in Tokyo on the first visit by a Chinese premier to Japan in seven years as the Asian powers work to repair ties.

Chinese premier on landmark Japan visit
Wen Jiabao arrived Wednesday in Tokyo on the first visit by a Chinesepremier to Japan in seven years as the Asian powers work to repair ties.

The ice-breaking visit is the first by a Chinese leader in seven years with Wen saying before his departure from Beijing that ties between China and Japan are at a "critical stage".

Speaking to Japanese reporters before his visit, Wen said it was important for both countries to "make an effort to push forward ties".

"I feel strongly that my trip has a real mission," he said.

In a symbolic gesture before Wen's arrival, the two countries signed an agreement allowing the resumption of Japanese rice exports to China.

The exports had been halted since 2003 when China revised quarantine rules.

Working together

During his visit Wen plans to address the Japanese parliament and issue a joint statement with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, expressing their hopes for building "a strategic and mutually beneficial relationship".

According to Japanese media reports, the statement will look to set aside the countries' clashes over territory and wartime history and focus on areas where they can work together.

Also on the agenda during the visit are talks on strengthening economic ties, collaboration on energy conservation and military co-operation.

Efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear programme are also likely to be discussed.

The visit is being seen as evidence that ties between the neighbours are on the mend after a series of rows related to Japan's wartime past.

In 2005 the long-festering dispute erupted into violent anti-Japanese protests in China, including a brief siege of the Japanese consulate in Shanghai.

War shrine

Wen's trip to Japan follows a fence-mending visit by Abe to Beijing last year, after which both sides have stepped up efforts to put relations back on track.

Visit's by Abe's predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, to Tokyo's Yasakuni shrine had been a focus of fierce criticism from China.

The shrine honours Japan's war dead, including several convicted war criminals.

Since coming to office, Abe has avoided going to the shrine, although he has not ruled out visiting in future.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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