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Annan Hopes for Improvement in China-Japan Relations

Kofi Annan talks to reporters at the Asian- African summit in Jakarta, Saturday
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he hopes the talks scheduled between China and Japan will help ease tensions between the two countries.

After weeks of rising tensions between the two Asian powers, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed news that the leaders of China and Japan will meet later Saturday.

"I hope that the meeting between the two leaders will help reduce the temperature a little bit and set their relations back on track," he said.

Mr. Annan made the remarks Saturday at a news conference in Jakarta where he is attending the Asian-African Summit. He has spent much of his time at the summit building support for United Nations reforms.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao are expected to meet after the two-day summit closes.

China is angry over Japanese textbooks that many critics say gloss over Japan's wartime atrocities.

On Friday, Mr. Koizumi apologized for Japan's behavior in Asia during the 1930s and '40s.