Wen Sidesteps Koizumi’s Invitation to Visit Japan

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao sidestepped Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s invitation Tuesday to visit Japan, a sign ties between Asia’s major powers remain bedeviled by a spat rooted in Japan’s wartime history, reported Washington Post. In a meeting in Laos, Koizumi extended the invitation to Wen, the first since he took over as premier from Zhu Rongji in March 2003. Wen reportedly said he “hopes to visit Japan in a favorable condition and environment.” Political ties have been on the rocks. China is unhappy about Koizumi’s periodic Yasukuni visits; Japan is upset over a Chinese nuclear submarine’s intrusion into its waters, and the two countries have been quibbling about aid.

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