Despite having little experience of foreign affairs, Premier Wen Jiabao stuck his neck out yesterday to outline China's relations with Japan and Russia, as well as offer his view on the world's hotspots. On Japan - always a sensitive issue - he said relations between the two neighbours stretching back for 2,000 years were strewn with incidents of war and aggression. 'How to correctly approach and deal with that period of history when Japan invaded China is ultimately the political basis of developing Sino-Japanese ties,' he said. Bilateral relations have been periodically punctuated with protests from China at Japan's omission of its wartime atrocities in school textbooks or at Japanese political leaders paying homage to a shrine that honours Japan's war dead, including some convicted war criminals. Mr Wen urged Japan to abide by the three treaties for normalising diplomatic ties. He said he was open to high-level exchange visits, adding that even he would be interested in visiting Japan at an 'appropriate time'. On relations with Russia, Mr Wen said that as China shared 4,000 km of common border with its Asian neighbour, maintaining and developing friendly relations was for the good of people from both countries. The Sino-Russia Good Neighbourly Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation signed in June 2001 further cemented the ties by giving them a legal foundation. The two countries have also worked closely as members of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, where they hold consultations on issues such as counter-terrorism. The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, originally called the Shanghai Five and comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan and Tajikstan, was set up in 1996 to provide a forum for discussion on their shared borders. In 2001, Uzbekistan became the sixth member of the group. Mr Wen did not specifically address China's relations with the US, but in connection with the war against Iraq he said China still held out hope that the war could be avoided, reiterating China's stance in favour of a political resolution within a United Nations framework. 'So long as there is a slim hope, we should not give up making efforts,' he said. China has sided with France and Russia in opposing war on Iraq. Mr Wen also expressed China's concerns about the volatile Palestine-Israel situation, which he hoped would not flare up if a war broke out in the Middle East.