Hu's Japan trip lays blueprint for stable ties, says minister

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 May, 2008, 12:00am

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has hailed President Hu Jintao's trip to Japan a complete success, saying it laid out a blueprint for the development of strategic and mutually beneficial Sino-Japanese relations.

Declaring that the five-day visit achieved 'desirable results', Mr Yang said the fourth communique signed by the leaders of the two countries set out the guiding principles for their long-term development, as well as consolidating bilateral ties.

It had also built a framework for a 'long-term, healthy and stable development of China-Japan ties'.

Mr Yang's remarks were made after Mr Hu returned home on Saturday after the first visit to Japan by a Chinese president for a decade.

'Both sides confirmed China and Japan are partners, with neither side posing any threat to the other, and that they will support each other's peaceful development,' he said.

In the communique, signed by Mr Hu and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, both sides agreed to strengthen personnel and cultural exchanges and deepen co-operation on various fronts, including trade and international affairs.

Although Beijing was positive about the results of the visit, critics have said it failed to resolve contentious issues such as the territorial dispute in the East China Sea.

Nevertheless, Mr Yang insisted that both sides had broadened their consensus on regional and international affairs, and it was acknowledged that their co-ordination and co-operation was 'indispensable to the revival of Asia'.

'The two sides pledged to maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia and facilitate the process of six-party talks,' Mr Yang said, adding that they had agreed to promote regional co-operation in East Asia to build a 'peaceful, prosperous, stable and open Asia'.

Mr Hu put great emphasis on energy saving and environmental protection co-operation, he said.

The president's trip was not only seen as a means to warm relations previously chilled by Japan's former nationalist prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, but also to rebuild China's image, which was affected by its handling of demonstrations in Tibet and protests surrounding the overseas Olympic torch relay.

How the agreements between the two countries would translate into action was unknown, but both sides agreed to continue high-level dialogue and exchanges, a move that reflected their willingness to move forward from a troubled past.