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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Japan urged China to improve Tibet problem, agree to smooth ties for upcoming Hu visit

April 20, 2008

The Associated Press
Thursday, April 17, 2008

TOKYO: Japan urged China to do more to resolve Tibetan unrest as the two
Asian powers held talks Thursday to smooth ties ahead of an upcoming
visit by the Chinese president ? the first in a decade.

Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura told his visiting Chinese
counterpart, Yang Jiechi, that Beijing should exercise more transparency
in its crackdown on restive Tibetans and should try dialogue with them.

"I asked for China's further transparency, and urged (Yang) to have a
dialogue, which is crucial," Komura told reporters at a joint news
conference with Yang after their talks.

Yang called the Tibetan issue "China's internal policy" and renewed
accusations that Tibetans' spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was fanning
the conflict. Yang also said China has already made its utmost
disclosure effort over Tibetan protests.

"Our policy toward Tibet is consistent and clear. Our door to dialogue
with the Dalai group is also open," Yang said, demanding the Dalai Lama
"abandon his pursuit of independence and attempt to hinder the Olympics."

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since 1959 and won the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, has strongly denied China's allegations he
and his followers have used the run-up to the Olympics to foment unrest.

The two ministers said they also agreed during their talks to step up
their efforts to smooth bilateral ties ahead of Chinese President Hu
Jintao's visit here next month.

Hu, who is expected to begin his Japan visit May 6, will be making the
first such trip by a Chinese president since Jiang Zemin in 1998.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
in Japan last September.

Japan and China have strongly improved relations during the past 18
months after ties plummeted due to former Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi's repeated visits to a Tokyo war shrine, and to disputes over
territorial issues and Japan's wartime actions.

Despite warming ties, the two countries remain divided by a dispute over
ownership of gas reserves in the East China Sea, tension over recent
poisonings caused by dumplings imported from China, and Beijing's
crackdown on riots and anti-government protests in Tibet.

Yang arrived Thursday in Japan for a four-day visit and a series of
talks, including those Friday with Fukuda, to lay the groundwork for
Hu's visit.

Japanese media have been playing up Hu's visit. Kyodo News agency cited
unidentified officials as saying Hu and Fukuda would play pingpong at a
Tokyo university from which Fukuda graduated.

Such an event would be reminiscent of the "pingpong diplomacy" of the
early 1970s, when an exchange of players from the U.S. and China marked
a thaw in relations between Washington and Beijing.
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