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China-Japan sign energy pact

P. S. Suryanarayana

Agree to face up to the realities of historical baggage

— PHOTO: AP

ICE-THAWING VISIT: Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao (left) and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe make a toast with sake (Japanese rice wine) in Tokyo on Wednesday.

SINGAPORE: China and Japan on Wednesday agreed to work out guidelines for a healthy development of their strained ties. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao met in Tokyo to build a strategic relationship for regional stability and decided upon a bilateral economic dialogue.

The two countries also expressed a shared "political" commitment to address the global issue of climate change. Steps to ensure environmental protection were outlined in a document that the Foreign Ministers of the two countries signed on the occasion of the summit between the two Prime Ministers.

Mr. Abe and Mr. Wen were also understood to have agreed to "face up" to the realities of the historical baggage on the bilateral front. The issue pertains to Japan's aggression against China during the Second World War and their differing interpretations of that period. Mr. Abe described Mr. Wen's visit as "a bright sun ray through the cloud".

An accord on energy-sector cooperation was outlined in a statement issued at the ministerial level as part of the summit process. Japan indicated that the accord could result in a transfer of technology to Beijing from Tokyo. The development of the nuclear energy sector in China was also placed within the ambit of this accord.

The Chinese side emphasised the importance of guidelines for better relations. Attention was also drawn to the economic dialogue and the possibilities of engagement across a wide spectrum, which could include the sensitive domain of defence.

Mr. Wen's visit, the first to Japan by a Prime Minister of China since 2000, was hailed by both sides as a critical sequel to Mr. Abe's talks with the top Chinese leaders in Beijing last October. Mr. Wen will address the Diet, Japanese Parliament, on Thursday.

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