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Japan, China pledge to work on economic ties amid heightened trade tensions

Reuters  |  TOKYO 

(Reuters) - Japanese and his Chinese counterpart kicked off the first high-level economic talks between their nations in eight years on Monday, at a time of tense trade relations with the for both countries.

Concern is growing about a trade row between and the in which the two nations have threatened each other with tariffs. has come in for criticism from U.S. on trade and been hit with tariffs on and aluminium, but has not yet threatened counter-tariffs.

China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, is the first Chinese to visit in a bilateral context in nine years. He and Kono discussed a broad range of issues, including North Korea, Kono on Sunday night.

"In these eight years, both nations as well as the economic conditions surrounding them have changed greatly, even as our regional economic roles have increased," Kono said at the start of Monday's discussions, noting a need for a reset of their often-fraught bilateral ties.

Japanese and Chinese pledged last year to reset the sometimes touchy relationship between Asia's two largest economic powers.

"I hope that today we can discuss closer, tighter economic cooperation as well as the regional and global economic situations," Kono added.

Wang, who spent eight years in as a including three as ambassador, said the changing economic climate presented fresh opportunities.

"After reopening these talks we're both standing at new starting points to discuss future cooperation that will, I hope, lead to fresh economic growth for both nations," Wang said.

Financial markets have been roiled recently over fears that a full-blown U.S.-trade war could shatter global trade and economic growth, and these issues are likely to be high on the agenda, along with Japanese cooperation on China's Belt and Road projects.

Japanese officials are also eager to avoid trade friction with the United States, with the issue to be discussed in the Abe and Trump talks later this week.

(Reporting by Nobuhiro Kubo, writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Eric Meijer)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 16 2018. 09:40 IST