Premier Wen Jiabao was given a standing ovation by Japan’s Parliament, when he became the first Chinese leader to address them in twenty years. Wen called for better relations between the two countries. But he also tackled contentious issues. He called on Tokyo to atone practically for its wartime aggression, while noting apologies given by its leaders over past years. “The militarists should be held responsible for the Japanese invasion of China. The Chinese people suffered terribly during this time. The people of Japan were also victims of the war. The two peoples should get on well together,” he said.
Bilateral relations were cold during the former Japanese Prime Minister’s regime. Beijing objected to Junichiro Koizumi’s annual visits to a war shrine. And Wen’s speech showed relations could freeze again. He warned Tokyo not to meddle in the subject of Taiwan. He said China would not tolerate the island’s independence.
Wen used sport to further his diplomacy. He chatted with residents while on an early morning jog. During his visit, Wen and the Japanese Prime Minister have signed agreements on energy and the environment. Analysts agree his efforts have done much to further the aim of cooperation between the countries.