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
Fukuda in China to Thaw Frosty Relations
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 ASEAN Summit in Singapore Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Romeo Gacad, Pool)   (Associated Press)

(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. (Read more Yasuo Fukuda stories.)

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