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

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China and Japan have resumed high-level economic talks after a hiatus of almost eight years in a sign of improving ties in their often-frosty relationship.

Asked by reporters on Monday to comment on the allegations, Fukuda said: "I will issue a comment today so please look at that".

While ties between Tokyo and Beijing have a troubled history, relations seem to have strengthened following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's diplomatic visit in January.

Evelyn Sharma
Evelyn Sharma

Kono told Wang that true improvement in bilateral ties can not be achieved without stability in the East China Sea, where China has challenged Japan's sovereignty over uninhabited islets.

"We must have fresh perspectives and think about ways of cooperation and coordination", said Kono.

The world's second and third largest economies have a fraught relationship, complicated by longstanding disputes over maritime claims and Japan's wartime legacy. The dispute over islands in the East China Sea - known as the "Senkakus" in Japanese and the "Diaoyu" by the Chinese - remains a source of tension. China demonstrated its significant influence over its reclusive ally when Xi hosted the North's leader Kim Jong-un and his wife in Beijing last month.

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South Korea's Moon and US President are also preparing for separate, direct talks with Kim, leaving Abe to continue asserting a "maximum pressure" campaign against the North. He and Kono discussed a broad range of issues, including North Korea, Kono on Sunday night.

Wang said the visit was a response to Japan's positive attitude toward China. "I would also like to take this opportunity to further strengthen economic relations between Japan and China".

Abe, who is due to meet with Trump in Florida on Tuesday to discuss North Korea, may also meet with Wang. The time is ripe for the two nations to improve relations to mark the 40th anniversary of their 1978 Treaty of Peace and Friendship, both ministers said.

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"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.

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