Interview: Japanese PM hopes to elevate Japan-China ties to new level

2007-12-25 09:03:51 Xinhua English

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is in an interview with Xinhua and other Chinese media at the prime minister's office in Tokyo Tuesday before his upcoming visit to China. (Xinhua Photo)

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda speaks during an interview with Xinhua and other Chinese media at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 25, 2007. (Xinhua Photo)

TOKYO, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said here Tuesday before his upcoming visit to China that he hopes to further promote relations with China to a new stage.

During an interview with Xinhua and other Chinese media at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Fukuda said he is "glad" to visit China in this memorable year marking the 35th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic ties.

"I expect to further promote the development trend of Japan-China ties so that next year bilateral ties can develop even faster and move into a new stage," he said.

Fukuda added that he will discuss with Chinese leaders the building of strategic and mutually beneficial relations and carry out consultations on how to make contributions to the two countries and the region through Japan-China cooperation.

The number of annual visitors between Japan and China has reached 5 million, the prime minister said, adding that enhancing exchange and mutual understanding will be conducive to consolidating the bilateral friendship.

He said that the sound Japan-China ties not only benefit the two countries but also play an important role in maintaining peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, and that "the two peoples also take great responsibility for the region and should make joint efforts" in that respect.

Japan-China relations have been developing smoothly after the visit by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to China in October 2006 and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan in April 2007, Fukuda said, calling for the maintaining of top-level exchange visits and establishing relations based on mutual trust.

Referring to the economic issue, Fukuda said China's economic development offers a good opportunity to Japan as well as to the rest of the world.

He said China's economic development is important to Japan's economic growth, adding that "bilateral ties have become increasingly complementary, and one cannot do without the other."

China is Japan's largest trading partner while Japan is the largest investor in China, Fukuda said. Further promotion of economic cooperation and exchange is important to the healthy growth of both countries' economies as well as the stability and development of Asia and the world, he added.

Commenting on the peaceful development of China, Fukuda said China's development offers a good opportunity to Japan and the rest of the world. The healthy growth of Japan-China relations is of great significance to the two nations and the two peoples as well as Asia and the world. With such consensus, Japan is willing to develop future-oriented ties with China based on mutual understanding and trust, he said.

Japan is ready to promote dialogue and exchange with China in all areas and at all levels with emphasis on exchange between the young people who shoulder the countries' future, Fukuda said.

Regarding environmental protection and energy, Fukuda said these are important issues "not only for the future of Japan and China, but also for that of the region and the whole of international society."

"Environmental protection and energy are important issues of cooperation between Japan and China in building mutually beneficial relations which can contribute to Asia and the world," he said.

Japan is ready to cooperate with China in promoting efficiency of coal-fired power generation, water purification and a recycling economy, said Fukuda, adding that the two neighbors have already started work in those fields through a joint committee on environmental protection and high-level economic dialogue.

Fukuda, who took office in September, is scheduled to begin a four-day official visit to China on Thursday.

He said in the interview that he plans to make detailed suggestions on bilateral cooperation in environmental protection and energy during his visit.

The premier also said he expects to discuss the East China Sea issue, climate change and the Korean Peninsula issue with Chinese leaders during his meetings in Beijing.

The Japanese prime minister is scheduled to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao, and meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and top legislator Wu Bangguo.

Fukuda will also give a speech at the prestigious Peking University and visit a primary school in Beijing. His itinerary, among other activities, includes a visit to Tianjin, a city close to Beijing, and Qufu, in Shandong Province, the hometown of Confucius.