China wants a clear apology from Japan over its wartime aggression in China and clarification of its stance toward Taiwan put into a joint statement to be issued when President Jiang Zemin visits Japan later this month, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Chen Jiang said Wednesday.

At the Japan National Press Club, Chen said Jiang’s visit — which is the first by a Chinese head of state and considered pivotal to future Chinese-Japanese relations — will give Japan a good opportunity to actually make a clear-cut expression of its attitude toward the past.

“The two sides should remove obstacles in expanding bilateral relations,” Chen said.

China and Japan are working on the joint document’s wording, but Chen said, “it will not be so difficult to find expressions acceptable to both sides, based on the (1972) joint statement and the (1978) peace and friendship treaty.”

Japan apologized for the war it waged in China from 1937-1945 in the joint 1972 communique.

Regarding Taiwan, Chen hinted China may relent on demanding that Japan accept the “three noes” policy in the joint document. The three noes refer to Beijing’s informal requests that Japan declare its objections to “two Chinas,” Taiwanese independence and Taiwan’s entry into international organizations.

However, Foreign Ministry officials said Japan cannot accept the demand because the issue was already dealt with in the 1972 joint statement, which states that Japan fully understands and respects Beijing’s position that Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory.

Beijing has been working to isolate Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province, and during a summit in June between Jiang and U.S. President Bill Clinton, it took a major step when Clinton declared Washington’s opposition to Taiwanese independence and entrance to the United Nations.

Chen said Japan also is expected to take a positive and constructive stance on the issue.

He also voiced concern about intentionally ill-defined “areas surrounding Japan” covered by the revised Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines.

If Taiwan either explicitly or implicitly belongs to those areas, China will reject the guidelines and consider them as interfering in China’s internal affairs, Chen said.

Chen said the joint document to be issued by Jiang and Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi will define a bilateral partnership for peace and prosperity for Asia and the entire world.

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