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Archive for Thursday, April 12, 2007

China, Japan pledge closer ties

April 12, 2007

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— Strengthening a fragile detente, Japanese and Chinese leaders meeting in Tokyo pledged Wednesday to work together on North Korea, energy development and the environment, while defusing thorny disputes over history and territory.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is on the first visit to Japan by a Chinese leader in nearly seven years, building on a trip by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Beijing last year to salvage seriously damaged ties.

The two declared firm intentions to move forward on rebuilding relations, signing agreements on energy and the environment and issuing a joint statement that laid out a series of issues for the countries to cooperate on.

"We must build future-oriented and stable Japan-China relations," Abe said at a banquet in Wen's honor. "We want to expand our common interests through strengthening dialogue in various fields."

Wen and Abe signed a series of agreements. An environmental accord called for the two to work on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change by 2013. China's emissions are not capped under the Kyoto pact, but they are a rising concern as the economy rapidly expands.

The other agreement committed Japan and China to cooperate on developing energy resources.

In the joint statement, the two vowed to seek ways to jointly develop gas deposits in disputed waters, pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and cooperate on intellectual property rights.

The declaration also made a veiled reference to the bitter dispute over wartime history.

China still nurses resentment over Japanese invasions in the 1930s and 1940s, while Japanese nationalists accuse Beijing of exaggerating accounts of atrocities for political gain.

"We resolve to face up to history and open up good, forward-looking relations toward a beautiful future," the statement said.

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