Chinese FM urges 'new future' for China-Japan ties

Chinese FM urges 'new future' for China-Japan ties

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Sunday, said his visit was Beijing's response to Tokyo's positive messages and policies.

Relations between the pair are entering an "important phase of improvement and growth", Wang added, on a rare visit by a top Chinese official to Japan. Upon his arrival in Tokyo earlier in the day, Wang had only said he hopes the bilateral ties will be "brought back onto a normal track".

But the move could backfire, as U.S. President Donald Trump could demand renegotiating terms for the pact or talks for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) - both outcomes Japan wants to avoid.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says he has reconfirmed the Japanese government's willingness to improve bilateral ties. 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. Since taking office at the height of the dispute, Abe has sought rapprochement with Japan's largest trading partner.

He finally managed to turn the tide a year ago with a qualified pledge of cooperation on Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature Belt and Road trade and infrastructure initiative. China is motivated by a lack of transparency in USA policymaking, as well as tougher American security and trade stances, she added.

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Abe, who is due to meet with Trump in Florida on Tuesday to discuss North Korea, may also meet with Wang.

Despite the diplomatic push, tensions over territory and Japan's militarist history remain. Still, few see the relationship as good.

Japan hopes the summit will prompt a trip by Abe to China, and in turn, a visit to Japan by Xi.

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

But it is wary of renegotiating terms, as that would mean upending a pact forged by 11 nations that went ahead without the United States after Trump withdrew from the Trans Pacific Partnership, in one of his first acts as president.

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