08/30/2007, 00.00
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Chinese defence minister in Tokyo to ensure “stability and security” in Asia

For the first time in nine years, a Chinese defence minister visits Japan. Move seems aimed at bridging the gap between Tokyo and Beijing on East Asia’s militarisation. Yet Japan is still going ahead with testing US-developed missile interceptors.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan yesterday kicked off a five-day visit to Japan, the first such visit in nine years and a sign that both sides want to bridge the gap that separates them in relation to the growing militarisation of East Asia.

During his visit General Cao will inspect and address Japan's self-defence forces and meet his Japanese counterpart Masahiko Komura to discuss bolstering defence co-operation.

The visit was long in the making and reflects both sides’ desire to improve political relations.

“This visit is symbolic of a new phase in Sino-Japanese relations,” said Tomoyuki Kojima, a professor at Tokyo's Keio University. “It will contribute to the stability and security of the entire region.”

After all is said and done however, Japan is still pursuing its own defence goals. Next month it will conduct its first simulation test of advanced US-developed missile interceptors in Tokyo, something that Beijing has criticised several times.

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