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Monday, November 2, 2015, 09:09

Deal with history responsibly, Li urges Abe

By Zhao Yinan in Seoul, Cai Hong in Tokyo and Zhang Yunbi in Beijing
Deal with history responsibly, Li urges Abe

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang (center) talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (not pictured) and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (not pictured) during their trilateral summit at the presidential house in Seoul on November 1, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / POOL)

Premier Li Keqiang has urged Japan to properly tackle the issue of history "in a responsible manner" and to "undertake positive policies toward China".

He made the comments when meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe for the first time in his capacity as premier on Sunday in Seoul.

At the invitation of Japan, the meeting took place at the hotel where Li is staying. Both leaders attended the sixth China-Japan-ROK Leaders Meeting earlier in the day.

Li made calls for "nurturing mutual trust" and "deepening pragmatic exchanges and cooperation" during the meeting.

"The historical issue matters for the political foundation of the China-Japan relationship as well as the feelings of the 1.3 billion Chinese people," Li said.

It is hoped that Japan will "fully perceive the great sensitivity, tangibly honor its solemn commitments made so far, effectively face history squarely and reflect on it, and properly tackle the relevant issue in a responsible manner," he said.

Wu Ji'nan, a senior research fellow of Japanese studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said "revisionist impulses" in Japan over history may lead to new trouble. Methods to manage such conflicts have yet to be introduced between the two governments, and Japan's security policy campaign is "radical", he said.

Wu said prudence is needed on the future of the relationship, and that further improvement of ties is being supported by bilateral exchanges.

The sensitivity and complexity of the bilateral relationship is still highlighted and there is a long way to go before a normal path of development can return, Li said.

It is hoped that Japan will "respect the concerns of Asian neighbors in the military and security fields, and do more to facilitate regional peace and stability", Li added.

Abe said he will unswervingly improve and develop the relationship, and Japan will further take a peaceful path and stick to its policy commitment on self-defense.

Japan is ready to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in fields such as finance, energy saving and environmental protection, and is "willing to embark on active negotiations at an early date" for an early realization of the China-Japan-ROK free-trade agreement, he said.

Contact the writers through zhangyunbi@chinadaily.com.cn

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