Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Top Diplomats of China, Japan Agree to Cooperate on N. Korean Issues

Top Diplomats of China, Japan Agree to Cooperate on N. Korean Issues

"We agreed to fully improve the bilateral relations through exchanges of the leaders. with Premier Li's visit at the time of the trilateral talks as the starting step", Mr Kono told reporters.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday began a visit to Japan described as a major step forward in improving frosty relations, as Tokyo tries to stay involved in a flurry of global diplomacy over North Korea. 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.

The visit is also seen as paving the way for a possible trilateral summit next month involving Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korea's Moon.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump are preparing for separate direct talks with Kim.

Since the Japanese government purchased most of the Senkaku Islands from Japanese owner in 2012, China has frequently sent its ships into Japanese territorial waters around them, raising fears that unintended conflict between Japan and China could be sparked in the area.

After such a meeting, they hoped to organise reciprocal visits by Mr Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mr Kono said. China is motivated by a lack of transparency in US policymaking, as well as tougher American security and trade stances, she added.

Mr Abe, who is due to meet Mr Trump in Florida on Tuesday to discuss North Korea, will meet Mr Wang on Monday.

A poll published in December found a marked fall in the percentage of respondents in Japan and China who saw ties between the two countries negatively.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Sunday, said his visit was Beijing's response to Tokyo's positive messages and policies.

Wang, who will be in Tokyo until Tuesday, will also take part in the fourth China-Japan High-level Economic Dialogue.

Kono said that he hoped the first economic dialogue between the countries in eight years would be a "fruitful discussion".

Trump threw fresh confusion into trade negotiations Thursday by instructing advisers to review the possibility of returning to the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sprawling free trade deal. Japanese officials said the mutual foreign ministers' visits for the objective of bilateral talks are the first between Japan and China in eight years. Recent polls show public support for his cabinet has fallen below disapproval.

"Even if Abe resigns, Japan is relatively stable".

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