Japanese prime minister arrives in China for talks

Japanese prime minister arrives in China for talks Beijing  - Japanese Prime Minister  arrived in China Wednesday for two days of talks that were expected to focus on issues including the global financial crisis and North Korea.

Aso was scheduled to meet Chinese leaders including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said before the visit.

"We hope through this visit, we can strengthen political mutual trust, advance the exchanges and cooperation in various fields, (and) discuss jointly how to respond to international crises," Jiang told reporters.

Both China and Japan are keen to revive stalled international negotiations on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

On his first official visit to China since he took office in September, Aso is also scheduled to meet representatives of youth, business and cultural organizations and visit a Sino-Japanese steel project.

Aso's visit comes despite Chinese anger over his recent offering to a controversial war shrine in Tokyo.

Japanese media reported last week that Aso sent a traditional decorative display for a spring festival at the Yasukuni Shrine, where Japan's war dead are remembered, including several war criminals convicted of atrocities in China.

Jiang said China had "expressed its grave concern and dissatisfaction" at Aso's offering.

Aso's visit was preceded in February with a visit to Beijing by Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone.

Before Nakasone's visit, he and Aso sparked anger from China after they claimed that the US-Japanese Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security applied to the disputed Senkaku islands, which are known as the Diaoyu in China. (dpa)

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