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Act to improve ties, Koizumi told
By Cao Desheng/Bao Xinyan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-07 06:06

China urged Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi yesterday to take concrete action to improve Sino-Japanese relations by stopping visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of Japanese militarism.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said this in response to Koizumi's statement in Tokyo on Monday that China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) cannot turn his shrine visits into a diplomatic issue.

Qin said the Japanese prime minister has time and again visited the shrine where Class-A war criminals of World War II are honoured, regardless of the feeling and strong opposition from neighbouring countries. The wrongdoing and its severe consequences are obvious to all, Qin said.

As a government leader, Koizumi should come back to the political basis of Sino-Japanese relations as early as possible and take tangible measures to honour his commitment to "reflect on history," Qin said.

Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine have sparked anger from China and the ROK, which suffered from Japan's aggression before and during World War II.

China on Sunday delayed the annual summit meeting with Japan and the ROK, usually held on the sidelines of a conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and this year scheduled for December 12-14 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"The postponement of the meeting this year is not something we want to see," Qin said. "We hope the countries concerned can create an appropriate climate and conditions to promote trilateral co-operation."

Referring to the latest survey of US policy on Africa, which stated China is challenging US interests and values on the continent, the spokesman said such accusations are "groundless."

China has always valued relations with African countries on the basis of mutual benefit, Qin said.

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