Sino-Japanese relations at crucial stage: China

Sino-Japanese relations at crucial stage: China

Sino-Japanese relations at crucial stage: China

"We want to improve overall (bilateral) ties this year", Kono, the first Japanese foreign minister to visit China in about two years, said at the outset of the meeting open to the media according to Japan Times.

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

"Your visit to China at the beginning of the year shows the Japanese government's strong willingness to improve bilateral ties", Wang told Kono, who is on his first China visit as Japanese foreign minister.

Kono's visit to China is the first by a serving Japanese foreign minister in almost two years.

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If it comes together, Li would lead the Chinese delegation, setting up the possibility of an Abe visit to China and then, eventually, a visit by Xi to Japan, he said.

There were signs of a thawing in relations between China and Japan on Sunday as the two sides agreed to resume reciprocal visits by their leaders and reaffirmed their shared stance on North Korea.

Mr. Abe voiced the hope that his country would be able to host this year a Japan-China-South Korea summit at which Premier Li Keqiang would be present.

An number of policymakers and scholars from Japan and China believe the renewed political stability in both the countries which form the second and third largest economies of the world will create a better environment to promote practical cooperation. Sunday's meeting followed a January 11 incident in which a Chinese military submarine entered East China Sea waters near the Senkaku Islands, which China claims as the Diaoyu. The latter welcomes this, pointing out the warming the relationship between the two countries.

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Relations between the two were at a "crucial stage", he said. They are administered by Japan, where they are known as Senkaku, but also claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.

In his meeting with Wang in Beijing, Kono lodged a protest against a Chinese submarine that was found earlier this month in the contiguous zone around Japan's territorial waters near the uninhabited islets.

China also views North Korea's nuclear weapons program as a "big" risk and has made a decision to improve relations with neighbors Japan and South Korea to "concentrate their diplomatic efforts" on Pyongyang, Nagy added.

A Japanese worldwide relations expert, who declined to be named because he is involved with a diplomatic mission in China, said although this year was likely to see a thawing in relations between the two countries, security in the East China Sea would remain a key concern for Japan.

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"Japan and China do not necessarily share views" on Beijing's strategy, the official said, adding, "We should consider carefully whether and how Japan will cooperate".

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