BEIJING, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday congratulated former Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso on being elected Japan's new prime minister.
"Premier Wen Jiabao has sent a congratulatory message to Japan's new Prime Minister Taro Aso," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement.
Liu's comments came hours after Japan's Diet announced that Aso, chief of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, had been elected as the nation's new prime minister.
Stressing that China and Japan were important neighbors, Liu said it was in the fundamental interests of both nations and their citizens to maintain long-term, healthy and steady bilateral ties.
Sound China-Japan ties will also be of great significance to the peace, stability and prosperity of Asia and the world, the spokesman said.
Liu said China would like to make concerted efforts with Japan's new cabinet and fully advance a bilateral, mutually-beneficial strategic partnership.