Vice-Premier Liu Yandong on June 27 met with Japanese Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Akihiro Ota to discuss bilateral ties, which sit at a low ebb due to territorial and historical issues.
With diplomatic ties between the countries in their worst condition since they were forged in 1972, this is the first time a Japanese minister has visited China since Shinzo Abe’s government was formed in December 2012.
“China attaches great importance to the New Komeito Party,” Liu told Ota, referring to the junior coalition partner of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party of which Ota was formerly chief.
“Although bilateral relations are in an extremely difficult situation, the minister’s visit to China has extraordinary significance,” Liu said at the beginning of the meeting in the Great Hall of the People.
Speaking highly of the contribution made by the New Komeito Party to Sino-Japanese ties, Liu said China holds that the two nations should develop ties on the basis of the four political documents signed by China and Japan in the spirit of taking history as a mirror to guide the future.
She said the two sides should properly solve sensitive issues and continue to promote dialogue and exchange in various areas, so as to enhance mutual trust and improve bonds between the two peoples.
Liu urged the Japanese side to face up to history and make concrete efforts to strengthen bilateral ties.
Calling the Sino-Japanese relationship important for both sides, Ota told Liu that the Japanese government will not veer from its stance of adhering to the four political documents and the “Murayama Statement.”
The “Murayama Statement” was released on August 15, 1995 by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who apologized for the damage and suffering caused by Japan to its Asian neighbors.
In the statement, Japan admitted the need to deeply reflect on its history, learn from it and avoid making the same mistakes again.
Ota said the New Komeito Party is committed to Japan-China friendship and will spare no efforts to help tide over the current difficulties.
Ota was in Beijing on June 26 for a three-day visit. He was scheduled to meet senior Chinese officials and attended the 2014 Beijing International Tourism Expo.