Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

China, Japan ministers pave way for rare summits

China, Japan ministers pave way for rare summits

While ties between Tokyo and Beijing have a troubled history, relations seem to have strengthened following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's diplomatic visit in January. The neighbours remain at odds, however, over China's growing military presence in the South China Sea, through which much of the region's sea-borne trade sails, and a dispute over ownership of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Tokyo and the Diaoyu in Beijing.

In his post on Twitter late on Thursday, Trump said the United States was working to make a deal with Japan, "who has hit us hard on trade for years!"The Trump administration again refrained from naming any major trading partners as currency manipulators but kept Japan on its monitoring list in a currency report".

The world's second and third largest economies have a fraught relationship, complicated by longstanding maritime disputes and Japan's wartime legacy.

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.

The talks came ahead of a summit between the two Koreas this month and a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jon Un and U.S. President Donald Trump. He and Kono discussed a broad range of issues, including North Korea, Kono on Sunday night.

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"We had direct and in-depth discussions on North Korea in light of the current situation", he told reporters after the meeting, without revealing details.

On North Korea, Kono said he and Wang "confirmed that we will work in close coordination, while fully implementing the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, to make the complete, irreversible and verifiable abandonment of North Korea's nuclear and missile (programs) a reality".

Wang, a former ambassador to Japan, said his visit was China's response to "positive" messages and policies from Tokyo but acknowledged "some complex and sensitive elements".

The Japan-China Excessive-Stage Financial Dialogue was being held Monday in Tokyo for the primary time since August 2010.

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