Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China 26 October – Reuters
BEIJING (Reuters): China and Japan on Friday pledged to forge closer ties as both countries stood together at an “historic turning point”, signing a broad range of agreements including a $30 billion currency swap pact, amid rising trade tensions with Washington.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also agreed the two countries would work together to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
The pacts were reached on Abe’s three-day visit to Beijing as the two neighbors looked to carve out new areas of cooperation and seek new ways to promote trust, which has been fragile at times since diplomatic relations resumed in 1972.
“From competition to co-existence, Japan and China bilateral relations have entered a new phase. Hand in hand with Premier Li, I would like to advance our ties forward,” Abe said at a briefing.
Abe is expected to meet with President Xi Jinping later on Friday in the first full-scale Sino-Japanese summit since 2011.
Japanese firms including big auto companies like Toyota hope to see normalized ties with China so they can compete with US and European rivals, while Beijing expects Tokyo’s endorsement of its ambitious Belt and Road program, an initiative that Xi hopes will further boost trade and transport links with other countries.
Abe also said Tokyo was “determined” to normalise diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, but only if preconditions were met, including denuclearisation and the release of kidnapped Japanese citizens.
“Our two countries bear large responsibility in achieving peace and stability in this region,” Abe said.
Efforts in advancing China-Japan ties should “persevere unremittingly to prevent the appearance of new twists and turns” so that previous efforts did not go to waste, said Li at a joint briefing with Abe on Friday.
“The Chinese side is willing to work with the Japanese side to return to a normal track, and maintain the stable, sustained and healthy development of bilateral relations,” he said, adding that he had held candid discussions with Abe since his arrival on matters of mutual concerns.
They reached consensus, Li said, that safeguarding long-term healthy and stable China-Japan ties was in accordance with the interests of both countries and the region and the world.