Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Thursday met with visiting Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan, saying that Japan attaches great importance in building strategic, mutually beneficial relations with China.
Abe welcomed the defense chief's visit to Japan at the meeting in the afternoon. China's development is a good thing both for Japan and the whole world, Abe said, adding that he supports enhancement of defense exchanges with China.
Military cooperation benefits not only security in Japan and China, but also the region's peace and stability, the premier said. He also expressed the hope that the two neighbors can promote exchange and cooperation in all areas.
Cao said that the prime minister's "ice-breaking" visit to China in October 2006 was an important step towards the improvement of bilateral ties. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's "ice- melting" visit to Japan in April further clarified the future direction of bilateral ties, Cao said.
China and Japan should treasure the opportunity to improve and develop their relations, Cao said. The relation between defense ministries of the two countries is an important part of bilateral ties, he said, adding that he hoped his visit can improve understanding, mutual trust and friendship between the two sides.
On the Taiwan issue, Cao said that the issue is a principal one. He said that he hoped Japan will continue sticking to the one- China policy and opposes any kind of "Taiwan independence", as to maintain regional peace and stability.
Abe said that Japan will stick to the position as stated in the Japan-China joint statement and does not support any remarks or actions that would unilaterally break the status quo of the Taiwan Strait.
Cao conveyed Premier Wen's greetings and good wishes to Premier Abe, to which Abe showed his appreciation and asked Cao to deliver his good wishes back.
Cao is making the official good-will visit, the first for a Chinese defense minister since 1998, at the invitation of Japanese Defense Minister.