Japan, China pledge to work on economic ties amid heightened trade tensions
Apr 16 2018 by Desiree Burns
Wang is the first Chinese foreign minister to visitJapan in a bilateral context in eight years and five months.
Kono met Wang in China in January when he became the first Japanese foreign minister to visit the country in almost two years.
That trade may be on the table for discussion when Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with Trump later this week in Florida, but the rise of intra-Asian trade has weakened the power of US attempts to coerce countries.
The visit by Wang, a veteran Japan handler who had served as an ambassador to Tokyo, comes as the world's second and third largest economies attempt to ease tension, caused by longstanding disputes over maritime claims and Japan's wartime legacy.
Kono said he and Wang agreed that their countries need to further develop bilateral relations in order to stabilize the waters.
But 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 programme in which Beijing is likely to be a major player.
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China showed its significant influence over its reclusive ally when Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife in Beijing last month. Mr Kono stressed that Japan and China share the same goal on North Korea.
South Korea's Moon and US President are also preparing for separate, direct talks with Kim, leaving Abe to continue asserting a "maximum pressure" campaign against the North.
On North Korea, Kono said he and Wang "confirmed that we will work in close coordination, while fully implementing the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, to make the complete, irreversible and verifiable abandonment of North Korea's nuclear and missile (programs) a reality".
Abe, who is due to meet Trump in Florida on Tuesday to discuss North Korea, will meet Wang on Monday.
While neither side is publicly linking the talks in Tokyo between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono to President Donald Trump's protectionist policies, the meeting is a timely reminder of not only how much they both rely on the American market, but also how interdependent the two Asian nations have become.