• Compiled From Staff, Kyodo Reports

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Japan denied Monday that Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura used direct words of apology for Japan’s wartime aggression when he met with Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing over the weekend.

According to Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi, Machimura told Li that Japan’s stance on its wartime history remains unchanged, referring to a 1995 statement issued by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama offering Japan’s “heartfelt apologies” over its past aggression in China.

But Machimura did not use words of apology at the talks as is reported in China, Yachi told a news conference.

Earlier in the day, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Machimura expressed Japan’s “deep apologies” when Li pressed Tokyo to take measures to atone for its past military aggression during their talks on Sunday.

The Chinese statement did not mention the anti-Japan riots sweeping China.

According to the statement, Li told Machimura in talks Sunday at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse that he hoped Japan would “correctly” view that period of history, consider relevant promises it has made to China since then and take specific measures accordingly.

Li asked that Japan not take actions that again hurt the Chinese people, adding that Japan must settle issues pertaining to history before Sino-Japanese relations can develop or improve.

The ministry said Machimura told Li he was “deeply hurt” by what he described as great harm done to the Chinese people in the past.

“Again, he expressed deep reflection and apologies,” it says. “The Japanese side draws deeply from its historical lessons and will continue to take a road to peace and development.”

At a news briefing Sunday night, a Japanese official gave no indication that Machimura had made such an apology.

Schieffer concerned

Staff report

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer expressed concern Monday over the tension between Japan and China.

Saying that peace and stability in Asia is important for the U.S., Schieffer noted that Washington hopes Tokyo and Beijing will come up with a way to resolve the matter.

The ambassador said he hopes the troubled Tokyo-Beijing relationship will not have a negative impact on ongoing efforts to resume six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear threat.

“I don’t think it will,” he told a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

Schieffer said the U.S., Japan, China, Russia and South Korea agree there should be no nuclear arms on the Korean Peninsula. “The more that we could say that message in one voice, the better the chance that we could solve this matter diplomatically,” he said.

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