New Japan PM to visit China


New Japan PM to visit China

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) June 13, 2010
Japan’s new Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Sunday accepted an invitation from his counterpart in Beijing to visit China, during a telephone conversation that also touched on North Korea.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao invited the Japanese prime minister to visit at a “time of convenience,” China’s state Xinhua news agency said, adding the two men had also discussed the situation on the Korean peninsula.

The report gave no further details of what they said regarding events on the Korean peninsula, but Japan’s Kyodo news agency said they spoke about the March sinking of a South Korean warship by a North Korean torpedo.

Kan requested that Japan and China co-operate in showing the will of the international community in responding to the incident, Kyodo said.

However, Wen only said that close co-operation between Beijing and Tokyo is important, Japanese Foreign Ministry officials were quoted saying.

China is Pyongyang’s closest ally.

Kan, 63, Tuesday became Japan’s fifth prime minister in four years after his predecessor Yukio Hatoyama quit over a row about the location of a US air base.

Kan had been praised in Beijing as someone who “has repeatedly stressed the great importance of developing Sino-Japanese relations, and we appreciate that.”

Sunday’s conversation between Wen and Kan marked the official activation of the China-Japan prime ministerial hotline, Xinhua said.

“We have reached consensus on a series of major issues, further making clear the direction and missions of the bilateral relations,” Wen said.

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