Source: Agencies | 2013-1-26 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
Natsuo Yamaguchi (left), leader of the New Komeito party from Japan, delivers a personal letter from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday. In talks with the Japanese envoy, Xi said China and Japan should address "sensitive" issues effectively and in a timely manner. Bilateral relations soured amid Japan's move to "purchase" part of the Diaoyu Islands last year. Xi urged Japan to respect history as well as reality and respect the feelings of the Chinese people and appropriately address historical issues.
CHINESE leader Xi Jinping received a letter from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday from a senior Japanese envoy in what was the highest-level contact between the sides since tensions spiked in September over the Diaoyu Islands.
The letter sent wishes of good health, spoke of the two countries' "shared responsibility for peace and prosperity" in the region and said that yesterday's meeting was a "valuable opportunity to share views."
Xi's meeting with senior lawmaker Natsuo Yamaguchi in Beijing's Great Hall of the People followed four months of rising friction that included mass protests in China and the scrambling of fighter jets by both countries.
Yamaguchi is leader of the New Komeito party, the smaller party in Abe's ruling coalition, but not a member of the government.
Since the dispute began, both sides have called for dialogue to avoid an armed confrontation, though Japan has rejected China's demand that it acknowledge a sovereignty dispute.
For Chinese, the dispute has reawakened bitter memories of Japan's conquest of Chinese territory beginning in 1895 and its brutal World War II occupation of much of the country.