Ikeda to inform China of resumed grant-in-aid

Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda leaves Mar. 29 for China for a two-day visit, during which he will tell Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other leaders of the decision to resume grant-in-aid to China.

The assistance has been frozen since summer 1995 to protest China’s nuclear testing. The government decided to resume the grant-in-aid during an informal Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, the foreign minister said.

Japan suspended grant-in-aid worth 7 billion yen ($56.9 million) per year, in August 1995 as a mainly symbolic protest against China’s nuclear testing, saying that China had refused to join a moratorium on banning those tests.

The visit will help strengthen ties as the two countries mark the 25th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations this year, Foreign Ministry officials said. Ikeda will also meet with Foreign Minister Qian Qichen and Prime Minister Li Peng.

His visit is a preparatory one for mutual visits by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and Jiang to further boost the bilateral relationship, which was strained last year over issues such as China’s nuclear tests and a dispute over the Senkaku Islands. Ikeda is likely to discuss with Qian issues such as how to expedite the signing of a new fisheries treaty covering waters within 200-nautical mile economic zones and how to go about the removal of chemical weapons dumped in China by Japanese forces at the end of World War II.