CHINA / National

China: Talks need 'good atmosphere'
Updated: 2006-05-11 20:38

China has signalled a meeting is possible between its foreign minister and his Japanese counterpart as long as there is a "good atmosphere" between the feuding states, a Chinese official was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing after a meting at the United Nations in New York, May 9, 2006. [Reuters]

The two nations, whose relations are at their lowest level in decades over a range of disputes, began exploring a possible meeting between their foreign ministers earlier this week.

China has halted such meetings since last October, when Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid his latest visit to a Tokyo war shrine that critics see as a symbol of the nation's past militarism because convicted war criminals are honoured along with war dead.

Wu Dawei, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister, was quoted by Kyodo news agency as saying that China has not rejected a Japanese proposal that the two foreign ministers meet on the sidelines of a meeting of Asian foreign ministers in Doha, Qatar, later this month.

"We are considering it. But we need a good atmosphere," he said.

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