• Kyodo

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Former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda expressed concern Monday about Japan’s worsening relations with China and South Korea over disputed territories and wartime history.

“All three countries experience bursts of narrow-minded nationalism that strain relations from time to time,” Fukuda said at a meeting of former leaders of the three counties in Toyako, Hokkaido.

“Strengthening ties between the countries at a regional level is necessary in order to build stable and constructive relations,” Fukuda added.

China’s former vice premier, Zeng Peiyan, suggested cooperation could begin with easily doable activities like marine search and rescue operations, and gradually move on to more difficult issues.

Zeng pointed to the need to shelve the debate over problems that are difficult to resolve at present, and instead strive for peace.

Former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo said it is necessary to take the long view to try to find common benefits.