Japanese destroyer makes historic landing in Chinese port

June 24th, 2008 - 6:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, June 24 (DPA) A Japanese destroyer arrived in the southern Chinese port of Zhanjiang Tuesday, making the first port call by a Japanese warship in the country since World War II. A welcome ceremony was held at the port for the 4,650-ton Maritime Self-Defence Force destroyer Sazanami, which carried 240 officers and crew.

The five-day visit by the warship “finally realizes the upgrading of diplomatic relations between the two countries,” Feng Zhaokui, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, wrote in a commentary in the official China Daily Monday.

The event was part of a bilateral defence exchange, following a trip to Japan by the Chinese destroyer Shenzhen last November, the first such visit since the communist government came to power in China in 1949.

Reports from Japan said the Japanese ship would deliver some 300 blankets and 2,600 emergency food items to victims of the May 12 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province, the first delivery of relief materials by Japanese Self-Defence Forces.

China Daily said in a separate commentary that the mutual visits by the warships appeared to reflect a “reconciliation on military matters” between China and Japan.

China and Japan shared common goals in handling the issue of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme and “non-traditional security areas such as the fight against international terrorism, sea piracy and drug trafficking,” the newspaper said.

But the commentary warned that it was “unrealistic to expect that one visit of a Chinese or Japanese navy destroyer will remove all the doubts between China and Japan.”

“They still have a long way to go before real trust is built,” it said.

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