BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- A Foreign Ministry spokesman on Tuesday said China has conducted normal exchanges with Japanese parties hours after a Japanese political leader arrived in Beijing.
"China has long maintained normal communication and exchanges with Japan's ruling and opposition parties, as well as its non-governmental organizations," spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing.
Hong's comments came hours after Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the New Komeito party, the smaller of Japan's two ruling parties, arrived in Beijing.
Yamaguchi is the first senior member of the Japanese ruling bloc to travel to Beijing since the Japanese government announced that it would "purchase" part of the Diaoyu Islands in September, a move that contributed to the disintegration of bilateral relations.
When asked about China's expectations for his visit, Hong said the exchanges between China and Japan can "enhance bilateral communication, properly promote solutions for related issues and boost the development of bilateral relations."
Hong said the China-Japan Friendship Association is arranging Yamaguchi's visit.