Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers pledge to improve bilateral ties

Jiji PressBEIJING (Jiji Press) — Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, agreed Sunday that the two countries should steadily promote reciprocal visits by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping in order to improve bilateral relations.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing

Jun Yasukawa/The Yomiuri Shimbun
Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi ahead of their meeting in Beijing on Sunday.

In their talks, held at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, Kono and Wang reaffirmed that Japan and China are cooperative partners and will not become a threat to each other, with the two countries marking the 40th anniversary this year of the signing of the Japan-China peace and friendship treaty.

Kono asked for Chinese cooperation to hold a three-way summit meeting also involving South Korea in Japan this spring and invited Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to visit Japan for the summit.

In response, Wang said China aims for an early summit among the three Asian countries. Japan and China will make specific preparations, according to a Japanese official with access to the Kono-Wang meeting.

In their meeting, Kono and Wang agreed to promote bilateral cooperation to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Kono underscored the need to ramp up the pressure on North Korea over its nuclear and missile development. The two ministers reaffirmed that their countries will fully implement related U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Kono protested the recent entry of a submerged Chinese submarine into the contiguous zone surrounding Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. He urged China to prevent a recurrence of such entry.

A situation that could impede the improvement of Japan-China ties should not be caused, Kono said.

Kono and Wang agreed to make efforts for the early launch of a bilateral maritime and air liaison mechanism aimed at forestalling an accidental clash in the East China Sea.

Along with the foreign ministers’ meeting, the Japanese and Chinese governments reached a broad agreement to conclude a bilateral social security treaty intended to prevent double pension premium payments by company workers stationed away from their home countries.

Kono was visiting China for the first time since he assumed the ministerial post in August last year. He was the first Japanese foreign minister to pay a visit to China in about 21 months.

Credit: Japan News

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