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World

AFP
April 17, 2018

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China, Japan vow to boost ties

China, Japan vow to boost ties

TOKYO, Japan: Asian rivals China and Japan on Monday pledged a "new starting point" for bilateral ties, vowing close co-operation amid a flurry of diplomacy on the North Korean missile threat and global trade tensions.

Welcoming Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for a rare three-day visit, Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe called for warmer relations between the two countries and said they should work together on North Korea.

Abe said he would be visiting the United States for talks with President Donald Trump to seek the "complete and irreversible denuclearisation" of North Korea and added "we want to co-operate with China."

"We hope to develop a strategic, mutually beneficial Japan-China relationship in various fields," said Abe. After meeting Abe, Wang told reporters that Beijing wanted to place "Sino-Japanese cooperation at a new starting point" and cooperate on energy, financial and environmental issues.

Tokyo is battling to stay relevant amid a string of summits on North Korea’s nuclear programme in which Beijing is likely to be a major player. With this in mind, Japan is pushing to host a trilateral meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Abe said this would be held "after Golden Week", a series of national holidays that ends on May 6. Bilateral visits by Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping are also being planned.

China demonstrated its significant influence over its reclusive ally when Xi hosted the North’s leader Kim Jong-un and his wife in Beijing last month. With Moon and Trump also preparing to meet Kim, reported efforts by Japan to reach out to Pyongyang have gone ignored. Wang said he and Abe spoke about North Korea.

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