Japan urges China to keep up pressure on N. Korea

Violet Powell
January 29, 2018

The minister noted to his Japanese counterpart "your visit to China at the beginning of the year shows the Japanese government's strong willingness to improve bilateral ties".

Kono's visit is a follow-up to a Japan-China summit in November.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono will pay an official visit to China on Saturday and Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced on Friday.

Though there has been positive progress, there are also many "disturbances and obstacles", Wang said, but the minister also pointed to comments from Abe on wanting to improve relations.

The summit would bring Li to Japan for the first time since he became premier in 2013.

Japan is hoping that will change this year as the two countries prepare to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the signing of a Japan-China friendship treaty.

Tokyo and Beijing agreed to continue working together to realize denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the Japanese official said.

Earlier this month, Beijing called on Japanese authorities to avoid creating "artificial" incidents around disputed islands, after the Japanese Kyodo news agency reported, citing the country's Defense Ministry, that a Chinese frigate and an unidentified foreign submarine had been detected outside Japanese territorial waters, near the islands.

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He was alluding to a Japanese government exhibit which showcaes Tokyo's claims to the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

Kono and Wang agreed to make efforts for the early implementation of a "Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism" in the East China Sea, where China challenges the sovereignty of the Senkakus.

Bilateral relations, however, appear to be improving after both Abe and Xi bolstered their domestic power bases late previous year.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi also met with Kono today.

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

A trilateral summit between the two countries and South Korea was scheduled for last December, but was postponed after the impeachment of the then-South Korean president Park Geun-Hye. Tokyo is due to host the next one, but a plan to hold it in 2016 was dropped against a backdrop of political turmoil in South Korea.

China, Japan, and South Korea have began rotating responsibilities to host annual meetings trilateral in 2008, but they were suspended in 2013 and 2014 over maritime disputes between Japan and China regarding a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea.

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