Reciprocal visits between Chinese, Japanese leaders seen as ties warm

The weekly Shukan Shincho magazine reported that Japan's administrative vice finance minister Junichi Fukuda had sexually harassed a female reporter at a bar

Reciprocal visits between Chinese, Japanese leaders seen as ties warm

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang and Japan's Foreign Minister Kono gesture at their meeting in Tokyo Thomson Reuters TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Kono said on Sunday that Tokyo and Beijing needed to work more closely together to denuclearize North Korea, in comments made during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with his Japanese counterpart today in what will be the first high-level economic dialogue between the two countries in almost a decade.

Abe and Xi have not held talks in the format of an official visit by either side since both men took office in 2012, but years of strain on bilateral relations due to historical and territorial grievances have recently given way to a thaw.

The visit is also seen as paving the way for a possible trilateral summit next month involving Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korea's Moon.

"I would like to regard (Mr Wang's visit) as a major step forward in our efforts towards improving Japan-China relations", Mr Kono said at the start of their meeting.

Kono said he also asked for China's cooperation in resolving the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

"For the Abe administration, China is essential to effectively pressuring North Korea", said Madoka Fukuda, a professor of global politics at Hosei University in Tokyo.

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"To establish a complete, irreversible and verifiable denuclearisation of North Korea we agreed to continue to fully implement all relevant United Nations resolutions and to work closely together", Kono said.

The ministers agreed to strive for the early implementation of a "Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism" to prevent unintended collisions in the area.

Long-fraught ties between Tokyo and Beijing deteriorated to a 40-year low after the Japanese government's 2012 purchase of disputed islets near Taiwan sparked Chinese demonstrations, damaged trade and even raised fears of a military clash.

He said the 2 countries should also put their ties back on the right path of development so that they can open the way for a new future.

Kono met Wang in Beijing in January.

On Monday, Kono and Wang will co-chair a bilateral, high-level economic dialogue in which they are expected to discuss opportunities for economic cooperation including trade and investment.

Wang said the visit was a response to Japan's positive attitude toward China. According to Japanese officials, the dialogue is the first in almost eight years.

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