China, Japan agree to hold trilateral summit with SK as soon as possible

Xinhua
China and Japan agreed to hold a new round of meetings involving Chinese, Japanese and South Korean leaders as soon as possible.
Xinhua

China and Japan agreed to hold a new round of meetings involving Chinese, Japanese and South Korean leaders as soon as possible.

The agreement came as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Beijing yesterday. “High-level exchanges can play a leading role in improving bilateral ties,” according to a press release from the talks.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also met with Kono later yesterday. Currently, China-Japan ties had maintained sound momentum for improvement, he said.

“We have noticed recent positive comments of the Japanese side on relations with China,” Li told Kono, who was on his first China visit as Japanese foreign minister. “However, China-Japan relations are still confronted with uncertainties.” 

Kono’s two-day visit to China ended yesterday.

In a policy speech last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed Japan’s willingness to promote its relationship with China.

Li urged both countries to cherish the sound momentum for improvement of ties. “China-Japan relations are not only of great significance to both countries, but also to the region and the world,” he said.

The Chinese premier asked the Japanese side to learn lessons from history and face up to the future, and to create a sound environment for expanding cooperation, restarting relevant dialog mechanisms and boosting regional cooperation.

The Japanese side hopes to hold a new round of China-Japan-South Korea leaders’ meetings as soon as possible, and welcomes Premier Li’s official visit to Japan, Kono said.

The sixth and most recent China-Japan-South Korea summit was held in 2015 in Seoul. China, Japan and South Korea began taking turns to host their annual leaders’ meetings in 2008. The trilateral leaders’ meetings were suspended for three years after the fifth one in May 2012, due to disputes over maritime sovereignty between China and Japan.

“The Japanese side hopes to work together with China to meet each other halfway, and jointly promote further improvement and advancement of bilateral ties,” Kono said. His visit came as the two countries celebrate the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

“Bilateral ties have gone through an extraordinary journey over the past 40 years,” Wang said, calling on both sides to “remain true to their original aspirations, learn from experiences and promote the continuous improvement of the relationship.”

The two foreign ministers agreed to take the opportunity to strengthen exchanges at all levels and in various fields, including culture, local government, media and youth, and to step up mutually beneficial cooperation. 

Kono said Japan hoped to take the 40th anniversary of the signing of bilateral treaty as well as China’s reform and opening-up, to upgrade bilateral ties to a new stage, based on mutual benefit and the consensus of “being each others’ cooperation partners rather than threats.”

During his meeting with Kono yesterday, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi asked the two sides to eliminate barriers and expand positive factors to promote the improvement of ties.

Kono said his government was ready to cement political trust and concrete cooperation with China, enhance high-level exchanges and contacts among various levels to promote the full improvement of ties.

During the meetings, the Chinese side urged the Japanese government to properly handle sensitive issues, including past events, and work with China to control differences.

Li called on Japan to push forward China-Japan ties back to the sound track of development. Yang also asked both sides to respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, and abide by the principles of the four China-Japan political documents.

According to the press release from the talks between Wang and Kono, the two countries have set forth principles and criteria for properly settling sensitive issues. 

Wang urged Japan to honor its commitment, deal with the Taiwan issue based on the one-China principle, and respect China’s sovereignty and security rights on issues related to Tibet and Xinjiang. 

“China and Japan should work together to build the East China Sea into the sea of peace, cooperation and friendship,” the press release said.

Since normalizing ties in 1972, China and Japan have signed four key political documents as well as a four-point principled agreement.

Wang asked both sides to build political trust, and urged Japan to treat China as a partner instead of as a rival, and view China’s development as an opportunity rather than a threat.

Regarding the Taiwan issue, Japan will abide by the principles established in the 1972 Japan-China joint communique that normalized bilateral relations. Japan will also properly deal with issues related to Tibet and Xinjiang, which are part of China’s internal affairs, according to Kono.

The two sides also welcomed the creation of an air and maritime contact mechanism between the two countries and pledged to sign the deal as soon as possible.

The two foreign ministers also exchanged opinions on regional and international issues including the Korean Peninsula issue. They vowed to jointly safeguard the free trade system, promote regional economic integration and build an open world economy.

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