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 user 2005-04-24 at 10:14:00 am Views: 84
  • #9082

    Chinese, Japanese leaders discuss lingering dispute
    Koizumi downplays tensions; Hu says Tokyo must ‘seriously

    JAKARTA, Indonesia
    - Chinese President Hu Jintao said Saturday that Tokyo needed to “seriously
    reflect” following massive protests in China over Japan’s handling of its
    wartime atrocities and urged Japan to back up its apologies with

    But Japan’s Prime
    Minister Junchiro Koizumi downplayed the tensions, calling for China not to be
    affected by “temporary confrontations and differences of opinion.”

    Hu’s comments came
    in a rare public statement after meeting with Koizumi on the sidelines of the
    Asian-African summit in Jakarta in a bid to ease the worst dispute in decades
    between the two Asian powers.


    It was the first top-level discussion since huge anti-Japanese
    protests erupted earlier this month in major Chinese cities over Tokyo’s
    approval of school textbooks that China claims play down wartime

    “The strong
    reaction of the Chinese people and the concerns of people from other Asian
    countries are something that the Japanese side should seriously reflect on,” Hu
    told reporters after the meeting.

    Hu said he and
    Koizumi had exchanged views on their relations during the closed door talks,
    which lasted 55 minutes.

    “At the moment
    Sino-Japanese relations face a difficult situation. Such a difficult situation
    is not one we want to see,” Hu said.

    If the row cannot
    be resolved, “it would be detrimental to China and Japan and would affect
    stability and development in Asia,” he warned.

    Koizumi agreed that
    the issue could affect regional ties but struck a more conciliatory note. The
    two powers are linked by billions of dollars in trade and investment.

    “Japan and China
    have never needed each other as much as they do today,” Koizumi told reporters.
    “We want to promote this relation … instead of agitating hostile

    <>Warning on

    The Chinese president said China and Japan could improve ties if
    Tokyo refused to support any moves toward independence by Taiwan. Taiwan and
    China split amid civil war in 1949, but Beijing still claims the island as its

    “The question of
    Taiwan should be correctly handled. It is hoped that the Japanese side will
    demonstrate through concrete action its adherence to the one-China policy and
    opposition to Taiwan independence,” Hu said.


    The meeting came a day after Koizumi offered the most public
    apology in a decade over Japan’s wartime aggression in Asia. Koizumi’s
    expression of “deep remorse” broke no new ground, but the rare appeal was a
    clear attempt to reverse the worst erosion of ties between Tokyo and Beijing
    since diplomatic relations were established in 1972.

    But Hu said
    rhetoric wasn’t enough.

    “Remorse expressed
    for (Japan’s invasion of China and World War II) should be translated into
    action and no move should be made to offend the people of China and the people
    from other Asian countries.”

    Hu, however, said
    he hoped talks would help resolve differences between the two Asian

    “We hope that the
    two sides will work together to ensure the healthy stable development of
    Sino-Japanese relations.”

    China, South Korea
    and other Asian nations have long accused Japan of not apologizing adequately
    for invading and occupying its neighbors, and Chinese animosities are aggravated
    by their rivalry with the Japanese to be the region’s dominant power.

    At least 12 million
    Chinese citizens died in Japan’s assault on their nation in the 1930s and 40s.
    Japan, an ally of Nazi Germany, conquered much of East Asia before its forces
    surrendered in August 1945. Atrocities include mass sex slavery and germ


    The dispute has threatened Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the
    U.N. Security Council. During a visit to India earlier this month, China’s
    premier told Japan to face up to its World War II aggression before aspiring to
    a bigger global role. It was the strongest hint yet that China might exercise
    its veto as one of the council’s five permanent members to block

    At the start of the
    summit Friday, Koizumi expressed “deep remorse” for his country’s misdeeds. It
    marked the first statement of remorse from a Japanese leader since

    “Japan squarely
    faces these facts of history in a spirit of humility,” he said.

    However, Koizumi’s
    remarks came just hours after a Cabinet minister and more than 80 Japanese
    lawmakers visited a Tokyo shrine to Japan’s war dead including convicted war

    Koizumi said
    Saturday he did not discuss the Yasukuni shrine with Hu.

    In Tokyo, about 150
    demonstrators, many of them Japanese nationalists, on Saturday marched
    peacefully to protest anti-Japanese violence in China.

    Brandishing rising
    sun Japanese flags, the demonstrators chanted “Chinese government: Crack down on
    anti-Japan violent protests!” and “Chinese government: Formally apologize to

    In Beijing, there
    was no sign of new anti-Japanese protests on Saturday, a day after the
    government called on the public to end unrest that might damage economic ties.
    Three busloads of paramilitary troops guarded the Japanese