Beijing: In an indicator of warming ties between China and Japan after three years of tense relations, President Xi Jinping has welcomed an unusually large Japanese delegation even as he cautioned Tokyo against any attempt to distort its wartime history.
The delegation of about 3,000 people, headed by Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s General Council marked the largest mission between the two nations since relations turned frosty in September, 2012. Receiving the delegation at the Great Hall of the People yesterday, Xi said the root of China-Japan friendship comes from the public, and the future of the relationship is in the hands of the people.
China attaches great importance to the relationship and would like to work with the Japanese side to promote friendly neighbourhood and cooperation, based on the four political documents between the two countries, he said. In his address to the delegation, Xi said this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the war’s victims, including China, will never accept words and actions by the Japanese side that distort history.
China and Japan who had fruitful trade ties with bilateral trade over USD 314 billon last year, have been locked in a bitter row over disputed islands in the East China Sea after which Beijing also slammed Tokyo, especially highlighting war crimes by Japanese forces in China during World War II.
The Japanese delegation that arrived in Beijing on Friday included heads of local governments and big enterprises. It is widely seen as the latest sign of thawing relations between China and Japan that have been hit by territorial rows and historical issues, state-run China Daily reported.
Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have met twice in recent months.