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China, Japan ties set for faster boost
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08:42, April 17, 2008

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President Hu Jintao said he is hoping his forthcoming visit to Japan will develop bilateral ties.

Hu made the remarks yesterday during a meeting with a Japanese delegation headed by Bunmei Ibuki, secretary-general of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party, and Kitagawa Kazuo, secretary-general of the Komei Party.

Hu, expected to visit Japan early next month - the first by a Chinese president in a decade - is likely to attend the opening ceremony of the China-Japan Friendly Exchange Year of Youth.

Hu took part in the opening ceremony by the Chinese side last month in Beijing.

According to Japanese media, Hu will play a game of table tennis with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on May 8 at Waseda University, Tokyo.

Ping-pong diplomacy is no stranger to the Chinese. The exchange of table tennis players helped improve ties between China and the United States and made it possible for then US President Richard Nixon to visit the country in 1972.

Premier Wen Jiabao played baseball with Japanese students during his 2006 ice-thawing Japan tour and he played catch with his Japanese counterpart Fukuda during the latter's visit to China last year.

Hu said the Chinese government attaches great importance to the bilateral ties.

He said to develop long-lasting, stable and friendly relations with Japan is China's unswerving policy.

As this year marks the 30th anniversary of the China-Japan Peace and Friendship Treaty, Hu said the two sides must seize the opportunity to cement mutual, beneficial cooperation and boost mutual trust.

Ibuki handed a letter to Hu from Fukuda that said the Japanese people were looking forward to Hu's visit, which he believed would inject more vigor to the bilateral ties, better benefit the two peoples, and boost regional and global stability and development.

Fukuda also said the Japanese government supported the Beijing Olympic Games, Japan's consistent position that will not change in the future.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi flew to Japan yesterday to pave the way for Hu's visit.

Source: China Daily

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