Wednesday, September 23, 2009

China’s Hu, Japan’s Hatoyama Agree to Extend Thaw in Relations

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- China’s President Hu Jintao and Japan’s new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama agreed to push for closer ties between the two erstwhile enemies at their first meeting in New York.
“I hope and am convinced China-Japan ties will develop more actively, and enter a new phase,” Hu said yesterday, congratulating the Japanese leader on his election victory last month. Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan ended six decades of Liberal Democratic Party power, years that were often marked by frosty relations with China over Japan’s war record.
Hatoyama has urged closer ties with Japan’s Asian neighbors, and suggested to Hu the idea of an East Asian Community, modeled on the European Union. China and Japan agreed to work together to resolves differences that include disputes over energy resources in the East China Sea.
“I said we should make it a sea of fraternity instead of a sea of disputes,” Hatoyama said after meeting Hu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Hu agreed that the two countries should work toward friendship and cooperation, and that officials should begin negotiations on an agreement. Hu also invited Hatoyama to a Japan, China, South Korean summit in Beijing by December.
Hatoyama urged Hu to work on promoting public support for an accord with Japan.
Hu welcomed Hatoyama’s stance on history of Japan’s aggression during the World War II, according to Japanese government officials who briefed reporters. Hatoyama told Hu his administration will honor a 1995 statement in which Japan apologized for Japan’s aggression.
Hatoyama told reporters in August he won’t visit Yasukuni Shrine, where war criminals are enshrined among the dead, and will ask his Cabinet members to refrain from making visits.
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s annual visit to Yasukuni shrine from 2001 to 2006 aggravated bilateral ties. Relations with China had already been on the mend as none of Koizumi’s successors made the visits.
Bumpy diplomatic relations haven’t halted economic ties between China and Japan. Trade between Asia’s two biggest economies rose 13 percent to $266.3 billion in 2008, according to the Japan External Trade Organization.
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