Japan and China’s foreign ministers pledge to pursue improved ties


Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono gesture at their meeting in Tokyo, Japan April 15, 2018. Behrouz Mehri/Pool via Reuters

Reuters Staff April 15, 2018

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Kono and his Chinese counterpart have pledged to improve ties between their nations and affirmed a commitment to stick with U.N. resolutions aimed at forcing North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons.
Kono met the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang YiWang Yi, in Tokyo on Sunday, having made his own official visit to Beijing earlier this year.

Wang is the first Chinese foreign minister to visit Japan in a bilateral context in the nine years since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to reset the sometimes fraught relations between Asia’s two largest economies.

“Through mutual visits between our two leaders we agreed to pursue wide-reaching cooperation and improved ties,” Kono said after Sunday’s meeting.

Economic ties between Japan and China are close, led by corporate investment. The neighbors remain at odds, however, over China’s growing military presence in the South China Sea, through which much of the region’s sea-borne trade sails, and a dispute over ownership of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Tokyo and the Diaoyu in Beijing.

Wang said his visit was in response to Japan’s positive attitude towards China.

“Since last year Japan has, in relations with China, displayed a positive message and friendly attitude,” he said.

The talks came ahead of a summit between the two Koreas this month and a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jon Un and U.S. President Donald Trump. The U.S-North Korea talks are aimed at ending a stand-off over Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

“To establish a complete, irreversible and verifiable decentralization of North Korea we agreed to continue to fully implement all relevant U.N. resolutions and to work closely together,” Kono said.

Wang, who spent eight years in Japan as a diplomat, including three as China’s ambassador, is scheduled to hold further talks with Kono and other Japanese Cabinet ministers on Monday.

On Tuesday Japanese Self Defense Force officers will meet counterparts from China’s People’s Liberation Army at a reception hosted by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in an effort to build trust between the military rivals.

Reporting by Nobuhiro Kubo; Writing by Tim Kelly and Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Sam Holmes and David Goodman

Source: Reuters “Japan and China’s foreign ministers pledge to pursue improved ties”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China declares intention to improve ties with Japan


Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China Jan. 28, 2018. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool

Ben Blanchard January 28, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – China hopes to work with Japan to establish more cordial relations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Japanese counterpart on Sunday, aiming to move on from a series of disputes, some dating back to before World War Two.

China and Japan have sparred frequently about their painful history, with Beijing often accusing Tokyo of not properly atoning for Japan’s invasion of China before and during the war.

Ties between China and Japan, the world’s second and third-largest economies, have also been plagued by a long-running territorial dispute over a cluster of East China Sea islets and suspicion in China about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution.

The two nations have, however, sought to improve ties more recently, with Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping having met in November on the sidelines of a regional summit in Vietnam.

Wang told Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono that his trip to Beijing, coming so early in the year, showed Japan’s strong wish to improve relations and that China approves of this because better ties would be in both nations’ interests.

Though there has been positive progress, there are also many “disturbances and obstacles”, Wang said, but the minister also pointed to comments from Abe on wanting to improve relations.

“China-Japan ties always sail against the current, either forging ahead or drifting backward,” Wang said in front of reporters at the start of talks with his counterpart.

“We hope that the Japanese side will neither relax in its efforts nor fall back, and turn the spoken statements into concrete actions.”

Kono, who later met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, said that the two countries shared a major responsibility in safeguarding the stability and prosperity of Asia and the world at large.

“Not only do we need to manage our bilateral relations, but we also need to work together to deal with issues facing the entire globe, in particular the issue of North Korea,” Kono said. “We desire to extend mutual cooperation between our two countries in working towards resolving this issue.”

Japan has repeatedly pressed China to do more to help rein in North Korea’s missile and nuclear programmes. China says it is committed to enforcing U.N. sanctions but that all parties need to do more to reduce tensions and restart talks.

Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Norio Maruyama told reporters that China and Japan are aiming to hold several high-level visits this year. These would include Abe visiting China and Xi going to Japan, he said, though no dates have been set.

“Let’s see. It’s all a question of the schedule,” he said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie and David Goodman

Source: Reuters “China declares intention to improve ties with Japan”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.