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China is urging Japan to apologize for its wartime aggression in China in a joint statement to be made during President Jiang Zemin’s visit to Japan later this month, sources said Tuesday.

Jiang is scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on Nov. 25 as the first Chinese head of state to visit to Japan.

China seemed unruffled about the lack of a written apology from Japan before the visit here of South Korean President Kim Dae Jung last month, but following the joint declaration issued by Kim and Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Beijing has apparently decided to take a stronger stance on the issue.

In the statement to South Korea, Obuchi expressed “deep remorse and heartfelt apology” for the great “pain and damage” Japan inflicted on the Korean people during its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945.

The Foreign Ministry, claiming that Japan’s past with China has already been resolved, says that whether to insert a war apology in the joint statement or not is a decision the prime minister has to make, the sources said.

Jiang’s September trip was put off due to massive flooding in China.

According to a Chinese Embassy official, the problem “will be settled if the words ‘Korean people’ in the Japan-South Korea joint statement are changed to ‘Chinese people’ and ‘colonial rule’ to ‘aggression.'”

The ministry emphasizes that there are differences of a historical nature regarding the backgrounds of the nation’s separate relations with Korea and China.

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