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Gemba's visit boosts China-Japan ties

11-24-2011 09:19 BJT

BEIJING - Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba vowed to boost relations as he met Chinese leaders in Beijing on Wednesday.

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba speaks in the presence of Japanese
elementary school students studying in Beijing at the opening ceremony of the 2011
Japan Anime Festival in Beijing on Wednesday. Gemba placed high expectations on
cultural communications such as animation, movie and TV drama to deepen mutual
public understanding. Zhang Yunbi / China Daily

Premier Wen Jiabao told Gemba that both countries should strengthen political and strategic trust.

Next year will be the 40th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations, and Gemba said he expected it to be an opportunity for both countries to deepen ties.

Japan is willing to work with China and further develop exchanges between the people of the two countries, Gemba said during talks with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.

Sino-Japanese relations had generally improved after the new cabinet took office in Tokyo earlier this year, Yang said.

Deeper cooperation with China will add momentum to Japan's recovery following the March earthquake and tsunami, said Shen Shishun, an expert on Asia-Pacific studies with the China Institute of International Studies.

Both countries also realize the importance of handling maritime disputes, Shen said.

Gemba, 47, the youngest Japanese foreign minister since World War II, was on a one-day visit to Beijing, his first since taking office in September.

The main purpose of Gemba's trip was to prepare the groundwork for an expected visit by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to China later this year, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported.

Maritime issues have strained relations, especially after a Chinese fishing boat collided with Japanese Coast Guard vessels in September 2010 in waters off China's Diaoyu Islands.

Proposals for a joint maritime crisis management mechanism were also discussed during Gemba's meeting with Wen, according to Yomiuri Shimbun's website.

The mechanism will allow for regular dialogue involving the foreign, defense, fisheries and energy ministries as well as the coastguards of both countries, according to the reports.

"Now that it's been more than a year since the incident, both China and Japan need to come up with a mechanism like this," said Feng Zhaokui, a researcher with the Institute of Japanese Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

China said on Wednesday that it will conduct naval exercises in the western Pacific this month.

"This is an annual, planned, routine drill. It is not directed at any specific country or target and is in keeping with relevant international laws and practices," said a brief statement from the Defense Ministry. "China's freedom of navigation and other legal rights should not be obstructed," it added.

Gemba also attended the opening ceremony of the 2011 Japan Anime Festival in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon before meeting Wen.

Exchanges of animation, movies and TV dramas, will be increased, Gemba said, and this will provide a "great chance" to enhance understanding.

In a video message aired at the ceremony, a group of leading Japanese animation dubbing artists expressed their gratitude to the Chinese people for their support after the March disaster.

Li Yang, a leading Chinese dubbing artist and vice-president of China Animation Comic Game Group Inc, told China Daily that Japan's highly developed animation entertainment industry can be a management and operational model for China to build its own original cartoon theme park.

Xinhua, Reuters and Zhang Yunbi contributed to this story.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: China Daily

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