Foreign and defense officials from China and Japan kicked off a high-level security meeting in Tokyo on Thursday, the first between the two sides in more than four years.
Liu Jianchao, China’s assistant foreign minister, told the meeting that international security situation has changed dramatically in the four years and the situation around China and Japan is also getting “more sophisticated” during the period.
“I hope both sides will exchange views positively, aggressively and in a practical manner through this dialogue and achieve such targets as setting aside minor differences for the common good, fostering trust and promoting cooperation,” the Chinese Minister said,
The Chinese diplomat also called for a sincere and pragmatic attitude to improve talks and bilateral cooperation.
China-Japan ties worsened owing to Chinese disappointment at Japan’s refusal to atone for its wartime past and a brewing territorial dispute.
Frayed relations witnessed a turning point last year with the signing of a four-point agreement, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister said on Thursday, adding Beijing hopes to develop ties with Tokyo in the spirit of “taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future”.
Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama said the “best way to dissolve the concerns is to hold direct dialogue”.
“Ties between Japan and China have been making a gradual advance since last year’s summit meeting but there still are concerns over each other’s security policy,” said Sugiyama.
Senior officials from both sides’ defense ministries also took part in the Tokyo meet.
The talks, launched in 1993, were last held in Beijing in January 2011 but were suspended after Japan decided to “nationalize” the disputed islands, called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan.
Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said earlier this month that the chance to be a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is available for all Asian countries including Japan by March 31, and the ball is in Japan’s court.
“They told us they are considering. Whether Japan will join, we do not know. It is Japan’s own decision,” Lou said.
China is Japan’s largest trading partner for the past several years but the strain in ties has taken a toll on bilateral trade between the world’s second and third largest economies.
TBP and Agencies