Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

China, Japan ministers pave way for rare summits

China, Japan ministers pave way for rare summits

Kono met Wang in China in January when he became the first Japanese foreign minister to visit the country in almost two years.

Kono said, "I hope to hold active discussions about regional and global economic issues".

The meetings also come after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier pledged to reset the sometimes fraught relationship between Asia's two largest economies.

"Through mutual visits between our two leaders we agreed to pursue wide-reaching cooperation and improved ties", Kono said after Sunday's meeting.

Shortly after his arrival, Wang will meet his Japanese counterpart with their talks expected to touch on key subjects such as economic relations, territorial disputes in the East China Sea, and ways to push North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, Japanese officials have said. Coastguard and military ships from both countries continue to tail one another around the uninhabited Senkaku islands, known as the Diaoyus in China.

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.

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Tokyo also hopes to expand its exchanges with China to stay relevant in increasing worldwide efforts to engage with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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

With Moon and US President Donald Trump preparing for separate direct talks with Kim, Japan fears being left on the sidelines. Mr Kono stressed that Japan and China share the same goal on North Korea.

"To establish a complete, irreversible and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea we agreed to continue to fully implement all relevant United Nations resolutions and to work closely together", Kono said.

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

"Since a year ago, Japan has, in relations with China, displayed a positive message and friendly attitude", Wang said at the meeting, adding that he hoped that the visit would help the two countries move towards better ties.

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