Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

China and Japan vow cooperation as Kim meets top Chinese diplomat

China and Japan vow cooperation as Kim meets top Chinese diplomat

"We agreed to carry out high-level visits, first with (Chinese Premier) Li Keqiang coming to Japan for a Japan-China-South Korea summit, then Prime Minister Abe visiting China and Xi Jinping visiting Japan", Kono told reporters after his meeting and working dinner with Wang in Tokyo.

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.

Wang said the visit was a response to Japan's positive attitude toward China.

With China and South Korea already boasting a successful trade deal, today's talks will strengthen the Sino-Japanese relationship, which is perhaps the weakest link between the three and an important step ahead of the next trilateral summit come next month.

He finally managed to turn the tide a year ago with a qualified pledge of cooperation on Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature Belt and Road trade and infrastructure initiative.

"I would like us to build peaceful and friendly relations befitting the name of the treaty", Kono said, adding that the two nations are "partners in cooperation" and share an understanding that they should not threaten each other.

The visit by Wang, a veteran Japan handler who had served as an ambassador to Tokyo, comes as the world's second and third largest economies attempt to ease tension, caused by longstanding disputes over maritime claims and Japan's wartime legacy. The diplomats discussed the North Korea issue, their economic relations and territorial disputes in the East China Sea. Now, China has an added incentive to fix ties with Japan, after a series of surprises from Trump on North Korea, Taiwan and trade sanctions.

China demonstrated its significant influence over its reclusive ally when Mr Xi hosted the North's leader Kim Jong Un and his wife in Beijing last month.

"We confirmed that we shall continue our close coordination while also completely implementing related UN Security Council resolutions to realise the irreversible, verifiable and complete denuclearisation of North Korea and its missiles".

"But together with Japan's efforts. we would like to bring China-Japan relations back on a path of sustainable and normal development".

Abe is set to meet Trump in Florida this week, where he plans to press the president to maintain a hard line on North Korea and seek to persuade him to take a more multilateral approach to trade.

On Monday, Kono and Wang will co-chair a bilateral, high-level economic dialogue in which they are expected to discuss opportunities for economic cooperation including trade and investment.

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