On Visit to Japan, China’s Hu Has No Time for Old Grudges
Blaine Harden reports for the Washington Post from Tokyo:
The two economic giants of Asia courted each other this week during a five-day visit to Japan by Chinese President Hu Jintao that played down wartime grudges and played up pragmatic cooperation.
The visit did not resolve a long-running dispute between the countries over rights to explore for natural gas in the East China Sea. Hu and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said they are working on it.
But the words and images that came out of the visit signaled a broad improvement in relations between the world’s second- and third-ranking economic powers, especially as compared with the last time a Chinese president came here.
President Hu Jintao’s visit to Japan this week was the first by a Chinese leader in a decade. It was a lot friendlier than the previous one — when President Jiang Zemin publicly chastised his hosts for not showing sufficient contrition over Japan’s brutal occupation of China in 1930s and 1940s. Unlike some of his recent predecessors, Japan’s prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, has made an effort not to infuriate the Chinese. Notably, he has refused to pander to Japanese nationalists by visiting Tokyo’s tainted Yasukuni war shrine.