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Monday, November 29, 2004

China Daily > Koizumi: Japan ready to stop China aid

Koizumi: Japan ready to stop China aid
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi appears ready to shut off official development assistance to China, the Kyodo News Agency reported Sunday.

"China is attaining an amazing economic development. I think it's about time for it to graduate," Koizumi told reporters traveling with him after arriving in Vientiane, Laos for a summit.

The prime minister did not say when the aid might be stopped. Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said Friday that Japan is likely to end the aid to China in the near future.

Koizumi is slated to meet in Vientiane Tuesday with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, only nine days after a meeting in Santiago with Chinese President Hu Jintao who took issue with Koizumi's visits to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine.

Koizumi said he has no plans to ask Wen not to again raise the Yasukuni issue, but defended his past visits to the shrine, saying, "I think they were appropriate."

Japan started to provide development assistance to China in 1979. From the 1990s, however, Japan began to adjust its China assistance policy, cutting the amount of ODA aid in 2000.

On Japan's move to stop ODA to China, Wu Dawei, vice foreign minister accompanying Premier Wen Jiabao at the ASEAN meeting in Vientiane, said Japan's move to cut down ODA to China would not affect the China-Japan relations.

When China started its reform and opening policy, Japan's loans and assistance played a positive role in promoting China's economic development, and the Chinese government and the Chinese people are grateful for the loans and assitances, he said.