Japan, China ruling parties to resume exchanges

Japan, China ruling parties to resume exchanges
China's Yu Zhengsheng, right, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, shakes hands with Komeito Secretary General Yoshihisa Inoue before the meeting in Beijing on Monday. LDP Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki is on the left.

BEIJING - Ruling parties of Japan and China officially agreed on Tuesday to resume a programme of conference exchanges among each party's members that had been suspended since 2009.

Visiting Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki and Komeito Secretary General Yoshihisa Inoue met Wan Jiarui, the minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing and reached the agreement.

LDP and Komeito intend to somehow improve the chilly Japan-China relationship through diplomacy between representatives.

However, it seems it may be hard for their intentions to achieve success as their counterpart continues to attach importance to issues regarding historical perception.

"We had sad times before, and we should overcome them," said Tanigaki, expressing his hope to resume the exchange among ruling party members at talks with Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, held in Beijing the day before the official agreement.

"The Japan-China relationship is heading in the right direction, though the momentum is weak," said Yu, the fourth-highest-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party, responding to Tanigaki during the meeting, which lasted for about 50 minutes.

"We'll make an effort in developing the relationship," Yu added.

Exchange conferences among the ruling parties of both countries began in 2006 as an opportunity to allow members of both the LDP and Komeito to have regular meetings with senior members of the Chinese Communist Party. They ceased with the change of Japan's government in 2009, deteriorating Japan-China ties and other factors.

Representative diplomacy between the two nations is expected to be active in this year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II.

A series of events are scheduled, such as LDP General Council Chairman Toshihiro Nikai's visit to China on Thursday.

However, more than half of the conversation at the Monday meeting was about issues relating to historical perception and the situations involving the Senkaku Islands, according to LDP and Komeito officials.

Yu said the 70th anniversary of WWII presents an opportunity, and that they want Japan to percieve history correctly, according to Japanese representatives.

Observers see an intention behind Yu's comment to apply pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he prepares a statement commemorating the anniversary, to be announced this summer.

Objecting, Tanigaki said "Our stance as a pacifist nation, our regret for the war never changes. It [the statement] will not be as you fear."

Inoue said Japan is focused on defence and will never be a major military power.

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