Tue, Oct 03, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Abe hoping to mend ties


New Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday that Japan, China and South Korea must have forward-looking relations, amid reports that he is arranging a trip to the two countries to mend ties.

"I plan to develop forward-looking relations with our important neighbors China and South Korea, by building mutual understanding through dialogue and cooperation in every possible level and area," Abe said.

Abe is expected to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) on Sunday, and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun next Monday, according to Japanese media.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said he favored Abe visiting to Beijing and Seoul during a single trip abroad, but refused to confirm news reports that Abe's tour would come as early as this weekend.

"I think it will be favorable if we can carry out [the summits] in one trip," Shiozaki told reporters, refusing to disclose a schedule.

Later yesterday, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon made a telephone call to his Japanese counterpart, Taro Aso, and the two concurred that they should cooperate closely for a summit between South Korea and Japan, according to South Korea's Foreign Ministry. It added that Aso said he will continue to make efforts for forward-looking relations between the two countries.

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