• Kyodo

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Chinese President Jiang Zemin told a delegation of Japan’s three ruling coalition parties Tuesday that the two countries should live in harmony over future generations, overcoming differences in their perceptions of World War II during which they were enemies, Japanese officials said.

“Facing past history, we must associate with each other to our remotest descendants,” Jiang was quoted as saying.

Jiang made the remark during a meeting with the secretaries general of the parties — Hiromu Nonaka of the Liberal Democratic Party, Tetsuzo Fuyushiba of New Komeito and Takeshi Noda of the New Conservative Party.

Jiang did not refer to any concrete issues, the officials said, but China has voiced criticism every time senior Japanese officials have downplayed Japan’s invasion of China and other war deeds.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told the delegates, “Sometimes opinions may differ inevitably in the process of developing China-Japanese relations. The important thing is to recognize problems forthrightly and nip them in the bud,” according to the officials.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Jiang called for increased efforts to promote bilateral exchanges. He was quoted as saying, “Nothing could be better than exchanges between leaders and people in both countries.”

The delegation handed Jiang a personal letter from Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, in which Mori says he will further strive to promote Japan-China ties.

Nonaka told Jiang that the three coalition parties will continue to support Mori’s administration to foster bilateral friendship, which they said was a major initiative of former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who died May 14.

The Japanese delegation thanked Jiang for his message of condolence over Obuchi’s death.

The delegation arrived in China on Monday and met Premier Zhu Rongji.

The three were to return to Japan later Tuesday after meeting Dai Bingguo, head of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department, and Zeng Qinghong, head of the party’s Organization Department.