China and Japan pledge to boost economic cooperation

China and Japan pledge to boost economic cooperation

China and Japan pledge to boost economic cooperation

Japan's Shinzo Abe and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang commemorated the 40th anniversary of a friendship treaty on Thursday, at the start of a rare trip to Beijing by the Japanese prime minister, who is seeking to fix frayed relations.

President Xi Jinping is set to welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a summit scheduled on October 25 to 27.

Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road.

"Our two countries have been making continuous efforts to improve relations", Abe said before flying to Beijing, expressing his hope that the visit would "lift bilateral relations to a new level". "I will have wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and interact with business leaders and captains of industry from both countries".

Mr Modi further wrote: "This will be my twelfth meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since my first visit to Japan as Prime Minister in September 2014".

Abe said he sought frank talks with Xi and Li covering North Korea and trade issues.

Also Friday, the central banks of the two countries signed a three-year, bilateral currency swap agreement enabling the two sides to swap up to 200 billion yuan (about $28.8 billion) for 3.4 trillion yen.

The two countries agreed to discuss advanced technologies and issues related to patents and other intellectual property - a perennial bugbear for China's relations with all foreign investors.

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"From competition to co-existence, Japan and China bilateral relations have entered a new phase", Mr Abe said at a briefing.

On nuclear cooperation, a senior official said Japan was an important partner for India in the area of civil nuclear energy and specific projects are being discussed under the Indo-Japan nuclear agreement.

In April, Trump tweeted that Japan had "hit us hard on trade for years".

"On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the treaty, we need to adhere to the general direction of peace, friendship and cooperation and conform to the trend of the times so as to jointly build more mature, steady and progressive China-Japan ties", Li said.

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. His key policy speech came the day before he makes the first trip to Beijing by a Japanese leader in seven years. "I can say with confidence that not only will there be no impact on India-Japan relationship but we also welcome the improvement in relationship between China and Japan because our view in Indo-Pacific which is inclusive and which brings everybody on board is the view our Prime Minister has spoken about", Vijay Gokhale, top diplomat at India's Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters in New Delhi.

"My visit (to Japan) will promote our traditional friendship that is deeply rooted in history, and consolidate our partnership for a better and more prosperous future", Mr Modi wrote on Facebook.

"China and Japan should interact more actively in the security area, foster constructive security relations, and pursue the path of peace and development for regional peace and stability", Xi said.

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