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China, Japan ministers pave way for rare summits

AFP  |  Tokyo 

The leaders of and are expected to pay reciprocal visits as relations between their countries warm, the Japanese said today.

After rare talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, said the ministers had "forward-looking" and "fulfilling" discussions about rebuilding ties between the Asian powers.

They agreed that would host a trilateral summit between Shinzo Abe, Chinese and South Korean Moon Jae-in, without setting a date.

After such a meeting, they hoped to organise reciprocal visits by Abe and Chinese Xi Jinping, Kono said.

"We agreed to fully improve the bilateral relations through exchanges of the leaders ... with Li's visit at the time of the trilateral talks as the starting step," Kono told reporters.

However, Kono warned there would be "no true improvement of Japan-relations without stability in the Sea".

"We agreed the importance of making it a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship," he said.

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

The dispute over islands in the Sea -- known as the "Senkakus" in Japanese and the "Diaoyu" by the Chinese -- remains a source of tension.

But is eager to get the relationship back on a firmer footing, especially as it fears being shut out of negotiations on North Korea's nuclear programme in which is likely to be a major player.

China demonstrated its significant influence over its reclusive ally when Xi hosted the North's and his wife in last month.

With Moon and US preparing for separate direct talks with Kim, fears being left on the sidelines.

Kono, who visited in January, stressed that the two countries share the same goal on

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

"We confirmed that we shall continue our close coordination while also completely implementing related resolutions to realise the irreversible, verifiable and complete denuclearisation of and its missiles."

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

"But together with Japan's efforts... we would like to bring China-Japan relations back on a path of sustainable and normal development." Abe, who is due to meet Trump in on Tuesday to discuss North Korea, will meet Wang tomorrow.

The time is ripe for the two nations to improve relations to mark the 40th anniversary of their 1978 Treaty of Peace and Friendship, both ministers said.

Wang, who will be in until Tuesday, will also take part in the fourth China-Japan High-level Economic Dialogue.

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

First Published: Sun, April 15 2018. 19:40 IST