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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Japan-China talks to repair ties
By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
BBC News, Shanghai

Anti-Japanese protest in Shanghai in April 2005
Anti-Japanese demonstrations in China have frayed ties further
China and Japan are making another attempt to patch up their tattered relations today.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto is holding talks with the Chinese President, Hu Jintao, in Beijing.

Relations between the two Asian powers have been at a 20-year low since violent anti-Japanese demonstrations across China last year.

The governments of these two Asian powers hardly talk to each other.

War legacy

Relations between China and Japan are a huge contradiction.

Japan is now the second biggest investor in China. Beijing is Tokyo's biggest trading partner. Yet the last time a Chinese leader visited Japan was eight years ago.

From China's point of view, it is all Japan's fault - it refuses to face up to its wartime history. The Japanese prime minister's visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine, which honours war dead including those who slaughtered millions of Chinese in World War II, are arrogant and provocative, China says.

From Tokyo's point of view, China is acting the bully, demanding Japan continue its grovelling apologies for events that are now nearly 70 years old.

Mr Hashimoto's visit will be welcomed by many in the region as a step towards a more rational dialogue, but there is still little sign that either of these proud nations is truly ready to start building a new relationship.


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