China appreciates outgoing Japanese emperor’s achievements
BEIJING – China has expressed appreciation for the achievements of Japanese Emperor Akihito, who declared his abdication on Tuesday, saying he has contributed to improving ties between the two nations.
“Emperor Akihito visited China in 1992 and met with Chinese party and state leaders on many occasions. He has made positive contributions to China-Japan relations,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Monday, according to the ministry’s website.
“The China-Japan relations have come back to the right track and taken on the positive momentum of development,” Geng said, while calling on Tokyo to make efforts to “properly handle sensitive issues.”
Japanese troops invaded China in the 1930s in the name of Emperor Akihito’s father, Emperor Hirohito, known posthumously as Emperor Showa. As a result, bitter memories of the period run deep in China.
The situation has since changed, however, with 2018 — the 40th anniversary of the signing and entering into force of the bilateral Treaty of Peace and Friendship — serving as an incentive to forge better relations.
Beijing has also decided to appoint Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, considered an expert on Japan, as its next ambassador to the country. Kong is likely to visit Japan as early as May after Crown Prince Naruhito’s ascension to the throne on Wednesday.