Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, back right, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stand behind Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono at a signing ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Friday. Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter

China, Japan pledge to forge closer ties at 'historic turning point'

By Norihiko Shirouzu and Philip Wen

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.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said 500 business deals worth $18 billion had been signed between Chinese and Japanese companies during the visit, a reflection of the "bright prospects" for cooperation between the two countries.

"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 told reporters after the pair met on Friday morning.

Abe is expected to meet with President Xi Jinping later on Friday in the first full-scale Sino-Japanese summit since 2011.

Abe returned to power in 2012 when Sino-Japanese ties were in tatters due to a feud over East China Sea islands, and the territorial dispute remains a key source of friction between the two countries.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters in Beijing that Abe told Li during their meeting that there would be "no genuine improvement" in bilateral ties unless there was "stability in the East China Sea".

Japanese firms including big auto companies like Toyota hope to see normalized ties with China so they can compete with U.S. 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 normalize diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, but only if preconditions were met, including denuclearization 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.

The move to boost economic ties came as China and the United States slap tit-for-tat tariffs on each other in recent months. Japan is at risk as it exports to China manufacturing equipment and electronic parts, which are used to make finished goods for the United States and other markets.

While Japan, worried about China's growing naval power, is keen for closer economic ties with its biggest trading partner, it must manage that rapprochement without upsetting its key security ally, the United States, with which it has trade problems of its own.

Ahead of the briefing, China and Japan signed an agreement to prepare yearly plans for talks, dialogues and exchanges, as well as a pact to step up cooperation in innovation.

They also agreed to boost cooperation in the securities markets including the listing of exchange-trade funds (ETFs), and facilitate smoother customs clearance.

The sides signed a currency swap agreement of up to 3.4 trillion yen ($30.29 billion), effective until 2021. They also inked a deal towards establishing a yuan clearing bank.

Li said both sides had agreed that as major countries, China and Japan should uphold free trade and accelerate talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and on a China-Japan-Korea trade zone.

RCEP is a free trade agreement proposed by China with Southeast Asia and various countries on the Pacific Rim including Japan

© Thomson Reuters 2018

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

someone please send Kono some laxatives so he won't have that look on his face anymore

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

If anyone is interested China's belt and road project is Inside China's mega-project that is linking 70 countries across Asia, Europe, and Africa. ... The main focuses of the "Belt and Road" initiative — also known as "One Belt, One Road" — are in infrastructure, transportation, and energy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Trump can bring even the worst of enemies together.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Abe is corrupting Japan one day at a time, 10% GST, high debts, sell out to China

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Japanese politicians a gurning competition in China now?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nothing is historic unless the US is involved

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

@Dango bong

The US dealt itself out. That is what America first means.

Can't have it both ways.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Where is the president. His absence speaks volumes... US is a fool to allow this to happen.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Why does Taro Kono face pose, looks like something out of the Muppet Show?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Abe said it right: from competition to co-existence. The attitude has changed, next step is to let people make love. There will be no shortages of anything, potential is huge, capacity is unlimited, the east is always where the sun rises first.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The real question is whether Japan bucks up against Japan and points out the fact that Taiwan is an independent nation, entirely independent from China.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The business numbers are really modest for this trip. A currency swap the only billion deal?

But anyways uphill here they go.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Not misleading at all. I'm just telling you from knowledge of my friends, as you tell people your opinion which completely goes against what I can see of the people I know.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think is great that Japan is trying to help it's self. But remember China has a master plan that by 2050 they will be the top economic and military super power. You don't become that by creating win-win situations in trade or diplomacy with too many others. And China never forgets. Peace.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@Christopher Lowery: China never forgets also the huge role that Japan played in Chinese economic development. Go to read some articles in the Global Times, that show how China openly admits that without the immense economic support from Japan, China couldn't be the superpower that became today. So, I am not sure why you are implying China memory is based only on the bad things that Japan did to China. Do you think that the US became the number one superpower, by creating only perfect win-win situations? Of course, no. Overall, I don't think how China is acting around the world is really worse than how the US acted to pursue their hegemony worldwide for decades.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It's obviously a reaction to Trump trade policy. Their cooperation will not go very far unless Trump pushes Japan too far.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Wow. Abe really screwed japan and America over. Very low.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

China will be crapping all over Japan again in no time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

China and Japan on Friday pledged to forge closer ties as both countries stood together at an "historic turning point",

I don't have Cristal Ball in my front desk. So how long it will last?

I hope they will not destroy Japanese own property and Japanese car in future by the Government back thugs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just forget human rights and the treatment of minorities like the Uighur Muslims, concentrate only on money, and never go against China

Terrible terrible pact

0 ( +1 / -1 )


1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is truly a historical turning point except it is not going to be long lasting. As long as Trump leads America, the relationship between Japan and China will look good. China needs Japan to help lower their economic burdens. Aside from Japan, other willing countries to help China are not in an economic position to do so. By helping China at such times is necessary as that China will not regard Japan as an enemy anytime soon as long as they remember that Japan betrayed American expectations to help China in times of need. Certainly, Japan and China cannot become allies as long as China have ambitions on claiming the Senkaku as their own. However, the CCP is a dictatorship regime and for that matter, not bringing up differences or disputes while seeking help from a competitive rival is perfectly fine. If Chinese nationals protest, they will get arrested. Therefore, while it lasts, this short-lived good ties between Japan and China shall be enjoyed. Also to note, Japan need not pay attention to human rights of Chinese people in China as that those are the same people who wants Japan crushed and destroyed. In short, what matters is that Chinese leaders want to be buddy buddy with Japan in such times. Japan should focus on maintaining good relationship with China. This is very essential to long lasting regional stability and the ever-lasting effect of a prosperous economy. Ganbatte!!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If Abe and Xi can make Japan and China good neighbors then the Golden Asian Century will commence in earnest.

The region will then enjoy lasting peace and unbridled economic prosperity.

Both men will then win the Nobel Peace Prize ahead of Donald Trump and Robert De Niro.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites