Japanese leaders should take history as mirror: Chinese FM 03-06-2004 17:44

China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said on Mar.6 that only when the Japanese leaders take history as a mirror and look into the future, can the friendship between China and Japan develop from generation to generation.

In response to a query from a Japanese correspondent, Li said the mainstream of Sino-Japanese relationship is good and there has been good progress in the communication and cooperation in all fields between the two countries.

The bilateral trade volume reached 133.5 billion US dollars last year, he said. And the number of visitors exchanged reached three million.

The two countries have also enhanced their coordination and cooperation in both regional and international affairs, the foreign minister noted, citing the most recent instance of the participation in the second round of six-party talks held in Beijing.

In the fight against SARS (the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) last year, China got the biggest material assistance from the Japanese government and people, Li added.

"But the most prominent issue in the bilateral relations, he said, is that the Japanese leaders insist on visiting the shrine that houses 14 Class-A World War II criminals and that has deeply hurt the feelings of the people of China and other Asian countries", Li pointed out.

He expressed the hope that Japanese leaders should show sincerity and do not be burdened down by historical issues.

"The Japanese leaders should take history as a mirror and draw on lessons from history, and make up their minds to live in peace with other countries and treat each other as equals," he said.

He asked the Japanese correspondent to go back home and ask the Japanese leadership why it cannot do what some European countries can.

The Chinese and Japanese people have a history of friendly exchanges for more than 2,000 years, the foreign minister said. There was also a history of Japanese militarists invading China in modern history. "Whatever the case, if China and Japan are to develop their friendship from generation to generation, it is necessary to take history as a mirror and look into the future."

Editor:Wang  Source:Xinhua News Agency

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