Fukuda in China to Thaw Frosty Relations

After strain, Japanese PM's charm offensive delights Beijing
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2007 2:40 PM CST
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda adjusts his earphone as he meets the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the 11th ASEAN-Japan Summit held on the sideline of the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Yasuo Fukuda is in Beijing, where the Japanese PM is hoping to solidify improved relations between two countries with a troubled past.  In contrast to his two predecessors, Fukuda is a pro-Asian leader; as he reminds his Chinese hosts, his own father brought in the Japan-China peace treaty 29 years ago, Bloomberg reports.

"We hope to turn the East China Sea into a sea of peace and stability," said a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry. China is relieved to have a friendly Japanese leader ahead of the Olympics, especially after the angry tenure of Junichiro Koizumi, whose veneration of dead Japanese war criminals infuriated Beijing. Fukuda has been more accommodating: his government gave the Dalai Lamaa chilly reception, and Fukuda is offering China billions in environmental aid.