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Koizumi still hopes for summit with China
Updated: 2005-10-26 07:54

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, amid criticism from China about his visit to a shrine that honors war criminals, expressed a wish Tuesday to hold summit talks with China on the sidelines of upcoming international meetings.

Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni shrine Oct. 17, his fifth since taking office in April 2001, prompted China to cancel some official contacts with Japan, including a scheduled visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura to discuss relations between the two trading partners.

Koizumi still hopes for summit with China
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi arrives at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo Monday, Oct. 17, 2005.[AP]

"Good relations with China are fundamental, so I want to have discussions," Koizumi told reporters at a regular briefing in Tokyo.

But Koizumi rejected Chinese criticism of his Yasukuni visits, saying, "It is not an issue any foreign government should criticize."

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said it would be difficult for leaders of the two countries to hold meetings during international summits, including APEC, because of Koizumi's shrine visit.

Koizumi still hopes for summit with China
Protestors holding a banner march to the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong October 17,2005 to protest against Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. The banner in Chinese reads, 'Shame on Japanese militarism'. [Reuters]

Wu also said that Koizumi's repeated shrine visits would also make it impossible for China to support Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, Kyodo reported.

Japan accounts for about 10 percent of foreign direct investment in China and as much as 15 percent of China's foreign trade, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics.

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