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Hu and Koizumi Discuss Strained Ties


Junichiro Koizumi, left, shakes hands with Hu Jintao, in Jakarta, Saturday

Chinese President Hu Jintao has stressed his country's desire for improved ties with Japan, but said he told Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that Tokyo needs to "reflect" on its wartime past.

The two leaders met Saturday at a Jakarta hotel after an Asia-Africa summit in Indonesia in efforts to mend a growing rift between the two countries.

Mr. Koizumi called the meeting "very good", but made no further comment.

It was the first meeting of top leaders from the two countries since recent massive anti-Japan protests erupted across China after Tokyo's approval of history texts that downplay Japan's wartime atrocities.

Friday, Mr. Koizumi repeated an apology for the atrocities, even as 80 lawmakers in Tokyo visited a controversial shrine, which honors war dead, including war criminals.

Chinese officials welcomed the apology, but added that Tokyo must back its words with action.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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