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China and Japan hold high-level trade talks as trade deal nears

16 April 2018

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang and Japan's Foreign Minister Kono gesture at their meeting in Tokyo Thomson Reuters TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Kono said on Sunday that Tokyo and Beijing needed to work more closely together to denuclearize North Korea, in comments made during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has begun a visit to Japan - described as a major step forward in improving frosty relations, as Tokyo tries to stay involved in a flurry of worldwide diplomacy over North Korea, a report in the South China Morning Post said on Sunday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is headed to the U.S. this week to satisfy Trump. "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", Kono told reporters. 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.

Kono said he and Wang agreed that their countries need to further develop bilateral relations in order to stabilize the waters.

China has replaced the U.S.as the number one trading partner for most nations in Asia, even those that have military alliances with the US, like South Korea, Japan and Australia. "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".

Wang, who spent eight years in Japan as a diplomat including three as ambassador, said the changing economic climate presented fresh opportunities.

They also discussed the vision each country has for the wider region, namely Japan's "free and open Indo-Pacific" strategy and China's "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure megaproject.

Wang on Monday holds high-level talks with Kono and other Japanese Cabinet ministers.

Japanese officials are also eager to avoid trade friction with the United States, with the issue to be discussed in the Abe and Trump talks later this week.

China and Japan hold high-level trade talks as trade deal nears