Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and his Chinese counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan, failed to reach an agreement over the wording of a Japanese apology for its wartime aggression in last-minute negotiations Tuesday evening.

The apology is to be included in a joint document to be issued during Chinese President Jiang Zemin’s visit to Japan, which begins today.

Foreign Ministry officials said the foreign ministers discussed a variety of other issues concerning Jiang’s six-day state visit starting today and that the two sides need to continue their talks.

The officials declined to confirm whether the foreign ministers talked about the war issue, but a senior ministry official acknowledged before the foreign ministers’ meeting that the two sides differ over the wording of Japan’s apology for its 1937-1945 war in China.

The two sides will make a final effort to find an expression acceptable to both sides before Jiang’s arrival. Komura and Tang were to have further talks on the issue at their unofficial dinner that was to be held after their official meeting.

The two sides were also believed to have talked about the wording of Japan’s stance toward Taiwan in the joint document.

China wants a clear apology from Japan over the war in China and clarification of its stance toward Taiwan in the joint document, Chinese Ambassador Chen Jiang said earlier this month. He added that Beijing believes these obstacles must be removed to further expand bilateral ties.

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