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Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 18:52

Amid tensions, premier Li meets Japan delegation

By Agencies
Amid tensions, premier Li meets Japan delegation
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (right), talks with Yohei Kono, head of the Japanese Association for the Promotion of International Trade (3rd from left), during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 14, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / POOL)

BEIJING - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has met with a Japanese delegation led by ex-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono amid halting efforts to reduce tensions between the countries.

Li told Kono on Tuesday that both sides want to overcome recent difficulties sparked by an island dispute and Japan's shirking of its responsibility for World War II.

A brief meeting in November between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe helped break the ice, but a full range of exchanges has yet to be restored.

In 1993, Kono released a now-famous statement conceding that the Japanese Imperial Army forced foreign women to work in military-run brothels during the war.

Before then, the government had denied the women were coerced and the statement has remained controversial in Japan.

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