Thursday, 19 April, 2018

Chinese FM urges 'new future' for China-Japan ties

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Japan for talks on North Korea, regional issues China and Japan hold high-level trade talks as trade deal nears
Melinda Barton | 16 April, 2018, 10:40

Asia's two largest economies have reason to cooperate in the face of President Donald Trump's moves to impose tariffs on imports from their countries and his demands that they open their markets more to American exports.

Kono met Wang in Beijing in January, in the first visit to China by a Japanese foreign minister in two years. Since taking office at the height of the dispute, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought rapprochement with his country's biggest trading partner.

He finally managed to turn the tide past year with a qualified pledge of cooperation on Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature "Belt and Road" trade and infrastructure initiative.

In a background briefing on Abe's visit Friday, the official, who asked not to be named, said the meetings at Trump's personal resort Mar-a-Lago in Florida would start in the afternoon on April 17 with a one-on-one meeting, followed by a small-group discussion that will include some of their top national security officials.

Japan welcomed news that the US was looking at rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed as a counterweight against Chinese economic influence. China is motivated by a lack of transparency in USA policymaking, as well as tougher American security and trade stances, she added. Japan's Self-Defence Forces activated a new amphibious unit to help defend remote islands just a week ago.

On the agenda for Sunday's talks will be preparations for a May trip to Japan by Premier Li Keqiang.

Such a meeting, Tokyo hopes, would lead to a long awaited exchange of state visits between Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday began a visit to Japan described as a major step forward in improving frosty relations, as Tokyo tries to stay involved in a flurry of global diplomacy over North Korea. The TPP, which Trump withdrew from soon after taking office previous year, includes 11 Pacific Rim nations, but not China.

Mr Wang said his visit was China's answer to "positive" messages and policies by Japan. Recent polls show public support for his Cabinet has fallen below disapproval.

According to a government survey conducted in 2017, only 2.8% of rape victims said they spoke to the police, while 58.9% did not tell anyone, not even friends or relatives. members of their family.