Koizumi and Hu to meet

The leaders of Japan and China have agreed to meet in a bid to defuse tensions over Tokyo's wartime record.

    Koizumi apologised for Japan's second world war aggression

    At the summit in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, Asian and African heads of state are putting the final touches to an accord calling for closer ties between their vast continents.

     

    The meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao will take place later on Saturday on the sidelines of the Asia-Africa summit, officials from both countries said.

     

    It will be the first top-level meeting since massive anti-Japanese protests erupted earlier this month in major Chinese cities over the issue of Tokyo's approval of school textbooks that China claims play down wartime atrocities.

     

    Apology

     

    At the start of the two-day summit on Friday, Koizumi apologised for his country's second world war aggression in an apparent bid to defuse tensions with China.

     

    Hu said he wanted Japan to back
    its apology with action

    Beijing replied it wanted to see action to back up the Japanese leader's words.

     

    The row between the two nations has overshadowed the two-day conference, which has drawn presidents, prime ministers and kings from more than 80 nations.

     

    The summit commemorates the golden anniversary of the first conference of newly independent nations from Asia and Africa in 1955 that sought to give a greater international prominence to the developing world.

     

    That congress took place in the Indonesian hill town of Bandung.

     

    Closer integration

     

    Delegates to this week's summit are set to endorse a document calling for closer economic and social integration, and stepped up cooperation in the fight against poverty, corruption and terrorism at the end of the summit on Saturday.

     

    "We visualise an affluent Asian-African region characterised by equitable growth, sustainable development as well as a common determination to enhance the quality of life and well-being of our people"

    Asia-Africa summit document

    "We recognise that the current global situation and the prevailing conditions in Asia and Africa necessitate the need to actively pursue a common view and collective action to ensure the equitable sharing of the benefits of globalisation," said a draft copy of the document.

     

    The declaration says participants agree to work together to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as democracy and accountability in the two regions.

     

    "We visualise an affluent Asian-African region characterised by equitable growth, sustainable development as well as a common determination to enhance the quality of life and well-being of our people," it says.

     

    Terrorism coloured many of the leaders' speeches on the opening day of the conference. Malaysia's Prime Minister accused rich countries of being preoccupied with the war on terrorism, saying it had sidetracked efforts to help developing countries.

     

    Korean meeting

     

    The summit has drawn together the leaders of developed nations such as South Korea, Singapore and Japan as well as international outcasts including North Korea, Myanmar and Zimbabwe.

     

    Korean leaders met on Friday
    on the sidelines of the summit

    South Korea's prime minister Lee Hae-chan met briefly North Korea's number two leader Kim Yong Nam on the sidelines of the conference on Friday.

     

    Although it was the highest-ranking meeting between the two Koreas since a summit in 2000, there was no discussion on major issues such as the resumption of nuclear talks or inter-Korean dialogue. The two men may meet again on Saturday, officials said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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