The Yomiuri ShimbunThe Japanese government has made a decision to propose a new framework for discussing trade issues between Japan and the United States, at a summit meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump in the United States on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono co-hosted the meeting, The Paper reports, noting that the two are expected to focus on Belt and Road initiative cooperation, as well as trade and investment.
The world's second and third largest economies have a fraught relationship, complicated by longstanding disputes over maritime claims and Japan's wartime legacy.
Japan hopes the summit will prompt a trip by Abe to China, and in turn, a visit to Japan by Xi.
Since the Japanese government purchased most of the Senkaku Islands from Japanese owner in 2012, China has frequently sent its ships into Japanese territorial waters around them, raising fears that unintended conflict between Japan and China could be sparked in the area.
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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. Japan has come in for criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump on trade and been hit with tariffs on steel and aluminum, but Japan has not yet threatened counter-tariffs. "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".
Kono said he and Wang agreed that their countries need to further develop bilateral relations in order to stabilize the waters.
Wang said any parties, including Japan, welcome the recent important changes on the peninsula. 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.
"I would like to regard (Mr Wang's visit) as a major step forward in our efforts towards improving Japan-China relations", Mr Kono said at the start of their meeting.