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Signs Of Improved Ties With China, S Korea Emerging: Aso

May 26, 2006

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Friday that Japan's chilly relations with China and South Korea are showing some signs of improvement as a result of his latest meetings with counterparts from the two countries.

"I have a feeling that a trend toward better relations is now emerging," Aso said in a speech at a Tokyo forum.

Aso said he began to feel that way after holding separate talks in Qatar with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon. He did not provide details about what was discussed.

To promote the concept of closer regional integration, such as through an East Asian Community, "it is vital (for Japan) to build good relations with China and South Korea," Aso said.

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.