Japan, China hold first summit in 3 years to improve ties

Bangkok, Nov 17 (EFE).- Japan and China held the first meeting Thursday between their heads of government in three years with the aim of stabilizing their current tense relations.

Fumio Kishida and Xi Jinping talked for a little over 30 minutes in Bangkok on the eve of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in the Thai capital.

During the meet, the Japanese prime minister stressed on the importance of building a constructive and stable relationship through the effort of both parties.

Kishida, at the start of the meeting, underlined that relations between Japan and China face many challenges and pending issues along with various possibilities for cooperation, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

Xi agreed, noting that both countries were important for Asia and the world, and have many common interests and room for cooperation.

The Japanese leader said both Japan and China are important powers with a responsibility towards regional peace and prosperity, and underscored importance of resolving their differences.

During the meet behind closed doors, the Kishida spoke to Xi about the dispute over the Senkaku Islands, administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing – which calls them Diaoyu -, incursions by Chinese ships near Japanese territory, which are one of the main sources of diplomatic friction between the two sides.

Kishida also raised concerns about growing tensions in Taiwan Strait, where China has maintained an aggressive posture especially after a visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island earlier this year.

Beijing responded to Pelosi’s visit with large-scale military maneuvers using live fire and missiles, some of which fell into waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), leading to heightened concerns in Tokyo.

China and Taiwan have had independent governments since 1949 in the wake of a civil war, but Beijing regards the island as a rebel province that must be reunited with the mainland, if necessary by force, and saw Pelosi’s visit as a provocation.

Kishida and Xi also discussed North Korea’s increased missile tests this year, as rumors continue about Pyongyang preparing to conduct its first nuclear test in five years.

This was the first meeting between the leaders of Japan and China since September 2019, when Xi met with then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

This was also the first conversation between Kishida and Xi since a telephone call in October last year, shortly after the former took office. EFE


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