Japan foreign ministers meet in Beijing to improve ties

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 09:37 GMT, May 1, 2016 |

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met the visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Beijing on Saturday (April 30), in a series of meetings aiming to reducing tension and improving ties between the two neighbours.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, and Japan, the third-largest, have a difficult political history, with ties strained by the legacy of Japan’s World War Two aggression and conflicting claims over a group of uninhabited East China Sea islets.

Ties have been thawing recently, with meetings between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but Beijing remains deeply suspicious of Japan, particularly of moves by Abe to allow the military to fight overseas for the first time since the war.

China’s Wang told Japan’s Kishida that ties had fallen to a low ebb, something Japan should be clear of the reasons for.

“We have recently seen the Japanese side repeatedly expressing its hope of improving the bilateral relationship. You have also shown your willingness to take the first step. If you come with sincerity, we welcome you. As the Chinese saying goes, we should make a judgement based on not only what people say but also what they do. Today, I am ready to listen to your opinion about how to improve China-Japan relations, and I am also going to see whether the Japanese side will sincerely match its words with deeds,” Wang said.

Wang also urged Japan to face up to history and abide by promises and cooperation rather than confrontation when deal with China-Japan relations.

Kishida thanked Wang for expressions of condolence from China for recent earthquakes in Japan and said he hoped foreign ministerial, reciprocal visits would continue..

“We are important neighbours. For a long time visits between the foreign ministers of China and Japan have been not been taking place and this is not desirable. I would like to be able to bring the relationship back into one in which (the ministers) of the two countries can visit frequently,” Kishida said.

Kishida is scheduled to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi later on Saturday.