China intends to enhance friendship with Japan

08:50, May 23, 2011      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in Tokyo, Japan, May 22, 2011. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

China's government intends to nurture a broader cooperative friendship with Japan, by promising more support to help it recover from March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear leakage and inviting 500 students from the quake area to visit and tour China.

The gesture that Beijing invites psychologically-impacted Japanese students to take a study and resting tour in China, is widely believed to be a very good-will measure on the side of Beijing to set a foundation for future friendly relations between China and Japan, experts in China say.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao paid a particularly arranged visit to the northeastern localities that were seriously battered by the earthquake and tsunami, before his official meeting in Tokyo with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Ka and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in their annual tripartite summit on Sunday.

The visit is another move by Premier Wen to give a personal touch to the people of the quake zone, just as he was well-known in the world to have rushed to Sichuan's Wenchuan in May 2008, when a similar devastating earthquake toppled China's southwestern province. Wen was seen holding the hand of a student whose body was buried under the debris, and encouraging the student to be strong.

Wen put forward a seven-point proposal to improve relations between the three East Asian countries, and the first would concentrate efforts to help Tokyo to implement post-quake reconstruction. He also promised that Beijing will cooperate with Tokyo to enhance nuclear power security, as the seriously crippled Fukushima No 1 Nuclear Power Plant remains to leak radioactivity to the environment and has to be completely shut down.

Another area of cooperation between the three Asian economic powers is enlarging trade. The three leaders agreed to complete their studies on a tripartite free-trade agreement by the end of this year, one year earlier than initially planned, to pay the way for the launch of official FTA negotiations in 2012.

Once the East Asia free trade zone is built, it will account for 70 percent of Asia's gross domestic product and about one fifth of the world's trade, and will be the third largest trading bloc, after the North American FTA and the European Union.

Premier Wen also suggested that the three countries ram up joint research and development in new energies, in ensuring nuclear energy safety, and in ensuring East Asia economic prosperity.

Appraising the meeting, China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told Chinese reporters on Sunday in Tokyo that the two-day trip by Wen has boosted cooperation in East Asia, consolidated popular support for China-Japan friendship, enriched the contents of China-Japan and China-South Korea partnerships, and is of great and profound significance for maintaining regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Yang said the trip was practical, effective, productive and a complete success.

By People's Daily Online
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