China, Japan leaders to meet

Chinese President Ju Jintao will meet Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Saturday in a bid to repair ties between the two Asian economic powerhouses.

    Japanese PM Koizumi has stressed on improving ties

    Kong Ouan, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the meeting would take place after the conclusion of multilateral talks between Asian and African countries in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

    "According to my knowledge, Hu has six to seven bilateral meetings today including Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi. It's this afternoon after the Asia-Africa meeting is over," Kong said.

    Apology

    The meeting will come one day after Koizumi apologised for the "tremendous damage and suffering" caused by Japan's wartime past in Asia.

    "Nothing is produced by antagonism," Koizumi later told reporters. "Friendship is most important. I would like to hold the meeting from [that] perspective".

    Ties between China and Japan have been at their worst in recent weeks.

    There have been violent anti-Japan demonstrations in China over Japanese school history text books that critics say sugarcoat its wartime history.

    The spat puts at risk economic ties worth $212 billion in annual trade.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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