Thu, April 30, 2009
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China, Japan seek to combat crises on Aso's 1st official visit

2009-04-30 13:24:35 GMT2009-04-30 21:24:35 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, April 30 (Xinhua) -- China and Japan agreed to jointly fight financial and health crises as Taro Aso concluded his first official visit to Beijing as Japanese Prime Minister on Thursday.

"With the international financial crisis looming and bilateral trade declining, both countries should take effective measures to boost our trade and investment," Chinese President Hu Jintao told Aso at the Great Hall of the People Thursday afternoon.

China-Japan trade volume dropped by 24 percent to 46 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter, according to the Chinese Commerce Ministry.

Hu proposed both countries step up information sharing and policy coordination, work more closely on key sectors of energy-conservation and environmental projects, information communication and advanced technology, according to a press release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Aso said he would like both countries to maintain close high-level communication and better coordinate on the global economic downturn.

Both leaders hailed the growing ties since Hu's visit to Japan last May and committed to cherishing the improvement.

Aso said his government would remain unchanged in facing up to history and keeping oriented to the future, the key message of the official statements by Japanese prime ministers in 1995 and 2005.

In 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, Tomiichi Murayama was the first Japanese prime minister to apologize for Japan's past wrong-doings.

The hour-long meeting with Hu ended Aso's two-day visit to China, his first official visit since Aso became prime minister in September.

On Wednesday, Aso talked for two hours with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao, agreeing to jointly work for the recovery of the Asian and world economies.

Wen proposed both countries promote the multilateralization of the Chiang Mai Initiative and the construction of the Asian bond market.

The Chiang Mai Initiative, a bilateral currency swap arrangement to help countries tackle a possible foreign capital flow shortage, has been upgraded to the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, a regional foreign reserve pool.

China, Japan and Republic of Korea and ASEAN countries have agreed to inject 120 billion U.S. dollars into the reserve pool incase of a financial crisis.

"Leaders' commitments and proposals spell out the strong will of Asia's two biggest economies to take the world out of the economic crisis," said Yang Bojiang, director of Japan Studies of China Institute for Contemporary International Relations.

The swine flu epidemic became an emergent topic of discussion between Wen and Aso although neither country has yet to report any cases.

Both countries promised all-out efforts to contain the spread of swine flu as the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday raised the pandemic alert level to phase 5, indicating that a pandemic is imminent.

Earlier Thursday, Aso took time out to visit a China-Japan environmental project in Beijing that has implemented a pilot program to cut greenhouse emissions using Japanese technology.

Aso also gave a wide-ranging speech to more than 100 Chinese and Japanese young entrepreneurs Wednesday.

"I believe we could learn a lesson from the crisis and build a stronger economy and a management mechanism," Aso said, calling for young entrepreneurs in both countries to work together.

"My visit has yielded a fruitful outcome," Aso told reporters before heading home Thursday evening.

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