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Koizumi still hopes for summit with China
Latest Updated by 2005-10-26 09:20:56
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Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, amid criticism from China about his visit to a shrine that honors war criminals, expressed a wish Tuesday to hold summit talks with China on the sidelines of upcoming international meetings.

Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni shrine Oct. 17, his fifth since taking office in April 2001, prompted China to cancel some official contacts with Japan, including a scheduled visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura to discuss relations between the two trading partners.

"Good relations with China are fundamental, so I want to have discussions," Koizumi told reporters at a regular briefing in Tokyo.

But Koizumi rejected Chinese criticism of his Yasukuni visits, saying, "It is not an issue any foreign government should criticize."

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said it would be difficult for leaders of the two countries to hold meetings during international summits, including APEC, because of Koizumi's shrine visit.

Wu also said that Koizumi's repeated shrine visits would also make it impossible for China to support Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, Kyodo reported.

Japan accounts for about 10 percent of foreign direct investment in China and as much as 15 percent of China's foreign trade, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics.

S. Korea not to hold summit with Koizumi

South Korea will not hold a summit meeting with Koizumi unless the Japanese leader apologizes for his shrine visit and pledges not to do so again, Seoul-based Hankook Ilbo reported Monday.

"(We will) not hold a summit (with Japan) while Prime Minister Koizumi is in office unless the Japanese government take measures to assuage uncomfortable feelings of neighboring countries like (South) Korea and China," a senior South Korean official said.

"Japanese leaders should realize they should pay the price if they conduct irresponsible behavior," the newspaper quoted the official, who was unnamed, as saying.

Koizumi has said he will step down from office in September next year, when his tenure as president of Japan's dominant Liberal Democratic Party expires.

South Korea reacted strongly to Koizumi's visit to the Shinto shrine Oct. 17. It was the Japanese premier's fifth visit since he took office in April 2001.

Yasukuni Shrine honors Japanese war criminals along with the war dead. Asian countries Japan invaded and occupied during World War II regard it as symbolic of unrepentant Japanese militarism and feel Koizumi's repeated visits to it are insensitive and insulting.

South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun's chief spokesman said later in the day Roh may cancel his scheduled visit to Japan in December, which is to reciprocate Koizumi's visit to South Korea earlier this year.

"The situation doesn't allow us to say the president's visit to Japan is being considered," the presidential spokesman said.

The presidential spokesman also questioned the possibility of holding a bilateral meeting under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the southern South Korean city of Busan next month.

Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki Moon summoned Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Shotaro Oshima to his ministry and lodged a formal protest and expressed "deep regrets and disappointment" over the visit.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China Daily Website
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