BEIJING, March 22 (Xinhua) -- A Foreign Ministry spokesman on Friday confirmed reports that former State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan recently met with a Japanese business delegation.
Spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing that Tang, who is now president of the China-Japan Friendship Association, held a meeting Thursday in Beijing with a delegation of the Japan-China Economic Association, a Tokyo-based private sector entity responsible for promoting bilateral economic cooperation.
According to Hong, Tang said the issue of the Diaoyu Islands is the crux of difficulty in current Sino-Japanese relations.
Tang urged Japan to "squarely face history and reality" and find a solution to the current crisis through dialogue and negotiation, according to Hong.
Economic and trade cooperation is a major component of Sino-Japanese relations, said Tang, asking the Japanese association to further work for promoting economic and trade exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.
The Japanese side expressed hope that bilateral ties will return to the right track in order to ensure the steady and healthy development of bilateral relations, Hong said.
Hundreds of Japanese companies, including Toyota Motor Corp., Electric Power Development Co. and Toshiba Corp., recently raised an initiative calling for the establishment of a cooperative network for improving air pollution in China by pooling the companies' technology and know-how.
Hong said the Chinese side is willing to carry out relevant cooperation with Japan.
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