China mulls more aid for quake-hit Japan

Updated: 2011-05-19 09:21

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)

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Beijing - China is considering more aid for disaster-hit Japan, but needs to discuss this first with the Japanese side, a Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the country this weekend.

Wen will attend the annual trilateral summit of the leaders of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) during his May 21-22 trip, and hold bilateral talks with his Japanese and ROK counterparts on the sidelines.

Before the Sunday meeting, Wen will visit Miyagi and Fukushima, where the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, to show China's support for the nation's reconstruction efforts, Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue told a news conference in Beijing.

"Premier Wen's decision to visit Fukushima was a personal choice," said Hu.

"First and foremost, it aims to express the concern and condolences of the Chinese government and people toward those affected by the disaster, encourage their recovery and show Chinese support for the reconstruction."

China has some proposals about how it could provide more aid, but needs to discuss these with the Japanese side, Hu said.

China offered economic and material aid to Japan in the wake of the March 11 disaster.

"China is ready to continue to provide necessary support and cooperate with the Japanese side in post-disaster reconstruction," said Hu.

Wen's plan to visit the disaster-hit areas has been widely reported in the Japanese media.

NHK said that the visit to the region would further improve relations, which suffered a downturn after a Chinese fishing boat collided with Japanese coastguard ships near China's Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

Wen's visit to Japan will be his first since last September's incident.

Hu added that sensitive and longstanding issues like the Diaoyu Islands were unlikely to be the major focus of talks between Wen and Japnese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Hu said China appreciates Japan's efforts to promote cooperation among the three countries despite the huge challenges it currently faces.

China hopes the trilateral meeting will improve cooperation in natural disaster management and nuclear safety.

Nuclear safety will "definitely" be discussed, both bilaterally with Japan and trilaterally with Japan and the ROK, said Hu.

The heads of China Earthquake Administration and the Ministry of Environmental Protection will join Wen on the trip, said Hu.

China has been monitoring air and water for signs of radiation stemming from the crippled plant.

China would like to strengthen communication and coordination with the ROK on Korean Peninsular issues, Hu said.

"We hope to encourage the northern and southern sides of the Korean Peninsula to improve relations through dialogue, and further ease the peninsular situation and have an early resumption of the Six-Party Talks."


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