China, Japan set to re­new their vows

Viet Nam News - - ASIA -

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 Korea’s 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 China’s 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 China’s 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 Japan’s 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 — Japan’s “free and open Indo-Pa­cific” strat­egy and China’s “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 China’s ac­tiv­i­ties in the East China Sea and its chal­lenge to Japan’s 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

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