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Japanese FM: Relations with China will improve
Updated: 2006-02-14 08:58

A Japanese foreign ministry official says he believes relations with China will improve, despite a recent rise in animosity between the countries.

Akira Chiba, an assistant press secretary for the ministry, told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute on Monday that the Asian neighbors have long misunderstood each other.

Chiba said polls show many Chinese often express strong dislike for Japan without realizing that Japan provides billions of dollars of direct investment and financial help to China.

As communication and trade continue to improve, he said, so will relations between the governments.

"I think it's going to be a splendid partnership. There's so much we can do for each other," Chiba said.

Chiba's presentation at the think tank came after a New York Times editorial criticized Japan's foreign minister, Taro Aso, for "inflammatory statements" about Japan's history that the newspaper said have offended other Asian countries.

During the weekend, Japan and China had high-level meetings aimed at resolving key disputes that have chilled their relations. The discussions ended only with promises to keep talking, and specific details weren't released.

Chiba declined to discuss the content of the meetings.

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