China's foreign minister visits Japan for talks on North Korea, regional issues

Trump to host Abe despite growing strain over North Korea, tariffs

Trump to host Abe despite growing strain over North Korea, tariffs

Foreign 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.

Wang told reporters after meeting with Kono that the Chinese side "confirmed Japan's desire to improve its bilateral ties with China".

"I hope that we will be able to discuss what Japan and China can work together on in the global arena, not just bilateral issues", Kono told reporters on Friday.

Wang's trip also follows an official visit by Kono to Beijing earlier this year, and marks the first visit by a Chinese foreign minister to Japan in a bilateral context in nine years.

The world's second and third-largest economies have a fraught relationship, complicated by long-standing disputes over maritime claims and Japan's wartime legacy.

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However, Tokyo is eager to get the relationship back on firmer footing, especially as it fears being shut out of negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program, in which Beijing is likely to be a major player. Now, China has an added incentive to fix ties with Japan, after a series of surprises from Trump on North Korea, Taiwan and trade sanctions. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump are preparing for separate direct talks with Kim.

Japan's Kyodo News reported on Sunday that Abe and Trump will agree to demand "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization", starting with North Korea disabling its nuclear facilities and readmitting inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency without preconditions.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is due to meet Trump in Florida on Tuesday to discuss North Korea, will meet Wang on Monday.

The visit is also seen as paving the way for a possible trilateral summit next month involving Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) and Moon. Abe has expressed hopes the exchanges will presage a return to regular reciprocal visits between leaders of the two countries.

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

Wang, who is to be in Tokyo until tomorrow, would also take part in the fourth China-Japan High-level Economic Dialogue.

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