• Kyodo

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Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji told the visiting secretaries general of the ruling triumvirate Monday that deputy premier Qian Qichen will attend the June 8 funeral of former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.

Zhu conveyed China’s intention to have Qian attend during a meeting with Hiromu Nonaka of the Liberal Democratic Party, Tetsuzo Fuyushiba of New Komeito and Takeshi Noda of the New Conservative Party.

The trio handed Zhu a personal letter from Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, party officials accompanying the ruling coalition representatives said.

During their two-day visit, the secretaries general were also to meet with President Jiang Zemin.

The three were to tell Chinese leaders there is no change in Tokyo’s stance of seeking a further strengthening of bilateral ties, they said.

Political sources say the trip is partly intended to demonstrate unity in the ruling coalition ahead of the Lower House general election scheduled for June 25.

The three will meet with Jiang and Zeng Qinghong, head of the Communist Party’s Organization Department, on Tuesday morning.

The two countries are working to realize a visit to Beijing by Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, while Zhu is scheduled to visit Tokyo in October.