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Japanese Warships to Visit China

March 19, 2002

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TOKYO (AP) _ For the first time since World War II, warships from Japan and China will visit each other’s ports in a sign of growing military cooperation between the former enemies, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

A flotilla of Chinese naval vessels will likely visit Japan sometime this spring, while the Japanese contingent will likely embark next year, said Keiji Iwamoto of the ministry’s China division. Details of the visits have yet to be determined.

The breakthrough came after military talks Monday evening, in which the two countries strengthened bonds but also discussed differences over nuclear weapons and growing military budgets, which reached record highs this year of $20 billion in China and $38.4 billion in Japan.

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1972. They have signed peace and friendship treaties, but have no formal military allegiances to each other.

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