Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted yesterday that his nation's past acts of aggression had caused "tremendous damage and suffering" to the peoples of invaded countries.
But Abe, speaking to reporters at the end of a day of meetings in Beijing, was unclear on whether he would visit the Yasukuni Shrine in the future.
Visits made by Abe's predecessor Junichiro Koizumi to the shrine, which honours class-A war criminals, had greatly damaged Sino-Japanese ties.
Japan's invasions had "left scars on those people," he said, noting that "this feeling will not be changed in the future."
With regard to the Yasukuni Shrine, he said that the visits had been turned into "a diplomatic and political issue" and he "should not elaborate on it."
But he promised to "address the matter appropriately."
Abe said that Japan and China agreed that nuclear tests by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) "cannot be tolerated."
He urged Pyongyang to make an unconditional return to negotiations on its nuclear programme.
"We need to prevent a nuclear DPRK," Abe said. "The DPRK's announcement of a nuclear test cannot be tolerated, because it is a great threat to East Asia and the international community."
He said that China, the chair country of the Six-Party Talks, has a pivotal role to play in stopping the DPRK from developing its nuclear programme.
"China, I must assume, has major influence," Abe said. "Regarding the summit today, this in itself constitutes a strong message to the DPRK. I assume the DPRK is watching this summit very closely."
On bilateral relations, he said that China and Japan should promote stronger political and economic ties.
The two countries agreed to "elevate" relations to a higher level, developing mutually beneficial co-operation.
It is the first time for the two countries to seek a "strategic" partnership.
On the economic front, Abe said that the two countries agreed to reach an investment agreement at an early date.
China is the first stop on Abe's first overseas trip. He will fly to Seoul today.
Source: China Daily