Chinese President Hu Jintao said Tuesday he hoped China and Japan would make joint efforts to remove the current political obstacles and bring bilateral ties back on the track of sound and stable development as early as possible.
Hu made the remarks while meeting with Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Japan's largest opposition party.
"To strengthen dialogue and exchanges between parties and statesmen is of significance for increasing political trust and pushing forward Sino-Japanese relations at a time when bilateral ties are facing difficulties," Hu said.
Sino-Japanese relations have been soured by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, where Japan's war dead, including 14 convicted class A war criminals in World War II, are honored.
The leaders of the two countries halted exchange visits following Koizumi's homage at the war shrine soon after he took office in 2001.
In an earlier meeting with Ozawa, Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan called on Japan to join hands with China and take "concrete" actions to steer China-Japan relations back to a normal track of healthy and stable development.
"China attaches great importance to the China-Japan relations," Tang said, adding the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties not only meets the fundamental interests of the two nations and the two peoples, but also promotes peace in Asia and the world.
Both President Hu and State Councilor Tang appreciated Ozawa's long-term contribution to cementing China-Japan relations, saying Ozawa and his party "have contributed a lot" to the exchanges and cooperation between the two peoples.
Ozawa said as head of the DPJ, he would continue to engage in developing Japan-China friendship following the Japanese politicians like former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and do his best to help develop friendly cooperation between the two countries.
Tanaka, as the first Japanese prime minister to visit China after World War II, signed a joint statement with China for the normalization of bilateral relations in 1972.
Before heading for China, Ozawa on July 2 urges to remove the names of the 14 class A war criminals out of the memorial list of the Yasukuni Shrine, for "it is a mistake to put their names together with the names of the war dead." (Source: Xinhua)