Bei­jing, Tokyo Urged to Co­op­er­ate More to De­nu­cle­arize North Korea


TOKYO (Reuters) Ja­panese For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Taro Kono said on Sun­day that Tokyo and Bei­jing needed to work more closely to­gether to de­nu­cle­arise North Korea, in com­ments made dur­ing a meet­ing with his Chi­nese coun­ter­part, Wang Yi.

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

Wang’s trip also fol­lows an of­fi­cial visit by Kono to Bei­jing ear­lier this year, and marks the first visit by a Chi­nese for­eign min­is­ter to Japan in a bi­lat­eral con­text in nine years.

“We would like to co-op­er­ate fur­ther to­wards the com­mon goal be­tween Japan and China, of es­tab­lish­ing a com­plete, ir­re­versible and ver­i­fi­able de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of North Korea,” Kono said as the two be­gan talks in Tokyo.

The meet­ings also come af­ter Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping ear­lier pledged to re­set the some­times fraught re­la­tion­ship be­tween Asia’s two largest economies. Wang said the visit was a re­sponse to Japan’s pos­i­tive at­ti­tude to­wards China.

“Since last year, Japan has, in re­la­tions with China, dis­played a pos­i­tive mes­sage and friendly at­ti­tude,” Wang said at the meet­ing, adding that he hoped that the visit would help the two coun­tries move to­wards bet­ter ties. Wang, to­day, holds high­level talks with Kono and other Ja­panese Cab­i­net min­is­ters. On Tues­day, Ja­panese Self De­fence Force of­fi­cers will meet their coun­ter­parts from China’s Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army at a re­cep­tion hosted by the Sasakawa Peace Foun­da­tion aimed at build­ing trust be­tween the past mil­i­tary ri­vals.

Wang spent eight years in Japan as a diplo­mat with three of those years as China’s am­bas­sador.

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