• Kyodo

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Despite China’s retaliatory cancellations of senior officials’ visits to Japan, the president of the China-Japan Friendship Association will take part in an international conference slated for mid-May, an informed source in Beijing said Thursday.

China has canceled several bilateral visits in protest of Tokyo giving a visa to former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui.

But Song Jiang, who also assumes other senior government posts, is to participate in a meeting of the Interaction Council, an organization of former Group of Seven government heads and senior officials, to be held on Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture, the source said.

“Cancellation of the visits is limited to those of a bilateral nature; multilateral meetings are not affected,” the source said.

On Tuesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that “normal contact” between China and Japan “cannot but be affected” by Japan’s decision to grant a visa to Lee.

In the wake of Lee’s visit and other issues, such as Tokyo’s approval of a nationalist history textbook that critics say glosses over Japan’s wartime atrocities, China has decided to “make necessary reactions,” including the cancellation of several visits by senior Chinese officials, Zhang Qiyue said.

On Wednesday, China officially notified Tokyo that a visit by National People’s Congress Chairman Li Peng, scheduled for the end of May, has been canceled.

Tokyo has also been notified of the cancellation of May visits by Vice Construction Minister Liu Zhifeng and He Guoqiang, secretary of Chinese Communist Party’s Chongqing municipal committee.

A planned mid-May visit by a delegation of Chinese provincial governors has also been canceled.

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