Senior members of Japan's ruling and major opposition parties said Sunday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to China and South Korea is the first step in improving Japan's relations with the two Asian neighbors
Syoichi Nakagawa, chairman of the Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Takeaki Matsumoto, head of the Policy Research Committee of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), said in an NHK TV program that they hope Abe's visit can improve the strained ties with China and South Korea.
"The visit is the first step in building relations of trust," Nakagawa said. Matsumoto also spoke highly of the summits Abe is scheduled to hold with Chinese and South Korean leaders.
Abe arrived in Beijing Sunday for his first foreign trip as Japan's leader and his first summit talks with Chinese leaders. He is scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao respectively, before flying to Seoul early Monday for talks with President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea.
Wen invited Abe to visit China on the premise that "China and Japan have reached a consensus on overcoming the political obstacle affecting bilateral relationship and promoting friendly and cooperative relationship," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao.