Tussle with Tokyo may affect regional stability, says Hu

Associated Press

Jakarta, April 23:

Chinese President Hu Jintao said today that the dispute over Tokyo’s handling of wartime past could affect stability and development in Asia. The leaders of Japan and China met today in an effort to end a dispute over Japan’s World War II aggression that has badly damaged relations between the two Asian powers and alarmed their neighbours. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Hu smiled and shook hands before sitting down to begin the talks, which were closed to the media. The meeting is the first top-level discussion since massive anti-Japanese protests erupted earlier this month in major Chinese cities over Tokyo’s approval of school textbooks that China claims play down wartime atrocities. It comes a day after Koizumi offered the most public apology in a decade over Japan’s wartime aggression in Asia. Koizumi’s expression of “deep remorse” broke no new ground, but the rare appeal was a clear attempt to reverse the worst erosion of ties between Tokyo and Beijing. The meet took place on the sidelines the Asian and African leaders’ summit. Koizumi told reporters during a brief visit to Aceh that he hoped to stress the importance of amiable Japan-China relations during his meeting with Hu.