BEIJING (AP) _ Laying a 31-year ideological feud to rest, Chinese President Jiang Zemin met Tuesday with the chairman of Japan's Communist Party.

Jiang, also general secretary of the 58 million-member Chinese Communist Party, told Tetsuo Fuwa that strong party-to-party relations would contribute to closer ties between the two countries, state media reported.

The meeting caps a rapprochement between the two sides that began with the normalization of their relations last month.

China severed ties with the Japanese party after it refused to accept Mao Tse-tung's communist dogma as a guiding ideology in 1967.

The Japanese Communist Party has since developed into a significant force in opposition politics. With recent electoral gains, the party now holds the second-largest bloc of seats in parliament's upper chamber and controls more local assembly seats than any other party.