BEIJING, May 18 (Xinhua) -- China looks forward to further improving ties during Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to Japan, said Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Hu Zhengyue here on Wednesday.
"The premier's tour of Japan will provide an opportunity for further improvements and developments in China-Japan relations. We will also endeavor in this regard," Hu said at a press briefing on Wen's attendance of the fourth meeting between the leaders of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
During his tour from May 21 to 22, Wen will also meet Japanese Prime Minister Kan Naoto on the sidelines of the trilateral summit.
This is the first meeting of the two countries' leaders this year, and the earthquake that triggered a massive tsunami in Japan in March will create a special backdrop for the meeting. The meeting is of great importance to the future development of bilateral ties, Hu said.
He added that during the meeting the Chinese side hopes to express sincerity and goodwill towards the Japanese people, promote bilateral cooperation and exchanges in all areas, including reconstruction, and consolidate the steady momentum of improved ties.
Reviewing the two sides' contacts and exchanges since territorial disputes tarnished relations last year, Hu said the two sides maintained close negotiations and consultations in the improvement of ties, and people-to-people exchanges continued to increase.x According to Hu, 850 flights fly between the two countries each week, and bilateral trade volume reached 300 billion U.S. dollars, making Japan China's largest trade partner among neighboring countries.
Wen will also visit the disaster-hit areas of Miyagi and Fukushima during his stay in Japan.
"We want to send the deep affections of the Chinese government and people for the Japanese people, and embody our support for Japan's reconstruction," Hu said.
He told the press that the government and people have expressed sympathies and condolences for the disasters that struck Japan in March. The current development of bilateral relations shows a positive momentum of improvement and the Chinese side values such momentum.
During Wen's tour, he will also attend a welcoming banquet held by Kan Naoto, a trilateral business luncheon, a concert by musicians from the three countries, and a joint traditional arts exhibition. He will also meet the press with leaders of the other two countries.