China, Japan set to renew their vows
TOKYO Asian rivals China and Japan yesterday pledged a new starting point for bilateral ties, vowing to co-operate closely amid a flurry of diplomacy on the North Korean missile threat.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Japanese counterpart at a meeting in Tokyo: With both of us standing on a new starting point, I hope we will promote the further development of both nations by opening a new future of bilateral cooperation.
Relations between the pair are entering an important phase of improvement and growth, Wang added, on a rare visit by a top Chinese official to Japan.
After meeting Abe, Wang told reporters that Beijing wanted to place Sino-Japanese cooperation at a new starting point and cooperate on energy, financial and environmental issues.
Tokyo is battling to stay relevant amid a string of summits on North Koreas nuclear programme in which Beijing is likely to be a major player.
With this in mind, Japan is pushing to host a trilateral meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Bilateral visits by Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping are also being planned.
Also yesterday, Japan and China agreed on the importance of the global free trade system amid escalating trade friction between China and the United States.
We share the recognition that bringing on a trade war would have a huge impact on the prosperity of the global economy, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters after a high-level bilateral economic dialogue in Tokyo.
Kono, who led the Japanese side in the talks, said Japan had said something needs to be done about Chinas overproduction of steel, and asked it to join international frameworks for the free and fair transfer of technology while ensuring the protection of intellectual property.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has cited both of the issues as driving its new tariffs on imports of various Chinese products and commodities.
The tariffs and Chinas retaliatory action have prompted worldwide concern over a trade war.
Although primarily aimed at China, the US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports rolled out last month also apply to Japan.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to repeat Japans call for an exemption like those granted to other US allies when he holds talks with Trump in Florida later this week.
Kono said the Japanese and Chinese officials discussed their countries visions for development across the Indo-Pacific region Japans free and open Indo-Pacific strategy and Chinas One Belt, One Road infrastructure megaproject.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the outset of the talks that China hopes to deepen dialogue with Japan about working together on the Chinese project.
Kono said Japan told China it is willing to cooperate on a case-by-case basis with projects that meet international standards regarding transparency, openness, feasibility, the fiscal soundness of the countries that accept financing, and environmental and social considerations.
According to Japanese officials, the Chinese side replied that Beijing is of the same mind as Japan on the importance of international standards.
Kono said both sides shared a recognition of the importance of speeding up talks on both a bilateral free trade deal and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership multilateral deal in order to unify the East Asian economic area.
The RCEP negotiations bring Japan and China together with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as Australia, India, New Zealand and South Korea.
Kono also said the officials agreed the next round of the economic dialogue should be held in China, possibly next year.
The talks were held in 2007, 2009 and 2010 before the hiatus was prompted by a chill in bilateral relations, primarily over Chinas activities in the East China Sea and its challenge to Japans sovereignty over the uninhabited Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. AFP/KYODO
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono (second from right) and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (second from left) hold high-level economic talks at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo yesterday. KYODO/VNA Photo