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UPDATED: 08:15, October 08, 2006
Senior Japanese official sees Abe's China visit an opportunity to mend ties
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The upcoming China visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will aim at having a "candid and heart-to-heart" discussion with the Chinese leaders, said a senior Japanese official in Beijing on Saturday.

I believes Abe is "ready to engage in mutual endeavor" with the Chinese leaders to overcome various issues which lie between China and Japan, the official, who is a special advisor of Abe, briefed on condition of anonymity.

Abe is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao, top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao during his stay in Beijing, according to the Japanese Embassy to China.

The meetings between Abe and Chinese leaders are arranged against extremely difficult environment for both sides, and is the result of willingness from both sides to try to overcome difficulties in order to make something happen, the source said.

The change of the Japanese government gave an opportunity for both sides to build a new relationship. Actually, a face-to-face talk between the two countries' leaders is a big success, it said.

According to him, the nuclear test of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will also be an "important agenda" of the meeting between Abe and the Chinese leaders.

Abe is supposed to discuss Korean peninsula nuclear issue with Chinese top leaders, in order to push forward the stranded six-party talks for an early resumption, the official said.

Abe, at 52, Japan's first premier born after World War Two, has pledged to improve relations with Japan's Asian neighbors, but refused to say whether or not he would visit the shrine as prime minister.

Japan and China have to cooperate to solve many problems between them including the shrine visit issue, said the official.

This is the first trip of the new prime minister since he took the office, which shows his high attention to China, the official said.

Premier Wen invited Abe to visit China on the premise that "China and Japan reached a consensus on overcoming the political obstacle affecting bilateral relationship and promoting friendly and cooperative relationship," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on Wednesday.

The leaders of the two countries halted the exchange of visits since former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid a homage to the Yasukuni Shrine in 2001, where Japan's war dead, including 14 class-A war criminals in WWII, are honored.

Source: Xinhua

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