Japan-China Relations

September 5, 2016
Pool Photo
Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office

1 Opening Remarks

  1. In his opening remarks, President Xi once again expressed his gratitude for Prime Minister Abe's attendance at the G20 Summit. He stated that Japan and China were mutual neighbors and that the development of a long-term healthy relationship between the two countries was in the interest of the people of both countries. He also stated that the relationship between the two countries had been in an improvement process since November 2014, but sensitive problems stand out due to the interference of complicated matters, and that efforts should be made to quickly return the relationship to a normal path.
  2. In response, Prime Minister Abe expressed his respect for the G20 Summit preparations and congratulations on the Summit's results. He also noted the importance of this Summit event for the realization of sustainable growth of the global economy and stated that while Japan and China faced some difficult issues, Japan hoped to build a stable and friendly relationship not only through managing difficult issues but also by moving forward with cooperation and interaction from a broad perspective based on the concept of a "Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests."     
  3. Prime Minister Abe mentioned North Korea's launches of further ballistic missiles that landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) today and addressed that these type of missile launches during the G20 Summit Meeting were an unacceptable act of recklessness.

2 Japan-China Relationship

(1) General Affairs 

  1. Prime Minister Abe noted that the Japan-China relationship had experienced some ups and downs since their previous meeting in Jakarta in April 2015, but commented that it was important to meet frequently and promote a "Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests" from a broad perspective and foreseeing the longer-term schedules. 
  2. President Xi replied to this point, and the two leaders reconfirmed that Japan and China had agreed on four points in November 2014 and confirmed their resolve to put the agreement that they are "partners for cooperation and should not pose a threat to each other" from the Japan-China Joint Statement of 2008 into action and work for further improvement and advancement of the relationship.    

(2) Dialogue, Cooperation, and Interaction

a. Regarding specific cooperation between Japan and China, Prime Minister Abe expressed his interest in the expansion of positive aspects of the relationship by moving forward with dialogue, cooperation, and interaction in a variety of areas, including the five areas of cooperation
(Note 1) and three common challenges (Note 2) proposed by Japan.  

(Note 1)Five areas of cooperation: ((a) macro-economy, financial and monetary affairs, (b) energy-saving and the environment, (c) a low birthrate and an aging population, (d) tourism, and (e) disaster prevention) 

(Note 2)Three common challenges: ((a) North Korea, (b) cooperation at the United Nations, and (c) counterterrorism and Middle Eastern affairs) 

b. President Xi offered comments, looking ahead to next year and the subsequent year, and the two leaders agreed on the following points.
  • Enhance mutual trust, appropriately manage issues, and improve national sentiment in both countries by conducting dialogue and cooperation on common issues  both countries are facing, promoting a variety of interactions, and expanding positive aspects in the Japan-China relationship based on the concept of a "Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests;" 
  • Bolster cooperation on counter-terrorism measures and hold discussions on counter-terrorism measures in Tokyo on September 28 as part of this effort;  
  • Conduct further discussions on strengthening financial cooperation; and
  • Enhance interaction in a variety of area ahead of the 45th anniversary of normalizing diplomatic relations next year, the 40th anniversary of the Japan-China Treaty of Friendship and Peace in the following year, and Olympic events in the two countries in 2020 and 2022.     
c. Additionally, Prime Minister Abe mentioned the visit to Japan by Dr. Li Keqiang, the Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China, for the Japan-China-Republic of Korea Summit being held this year as well as the following points. 
  • Japan would like to conduct administrative-level discussions for prompt elimination of import restrictions on Japanese food products and for export promotion of Japanese rice.   
  • A group mission of about 230 Japanese economic representatives will be visiting China soon, which will be an excellent opportunity for economic interaction. He hopes that the group has meaningful dialogue with Chinese leaders. In response, President Xi acknowledged the importance of strengthening economic ties and welcomed the visit to China by such group mission of economic representatives.

(3) The East China Sea

  1. Prime Minister Abe stated that the unusual activities by Chinese government vessels and military forces in the East China Sea were extremely regrettable and called for an end to actions that unilaterally raise tensions as well as an improvement of the situation. He also commented that the Japan-China relationship cannot stabilize unless there is stability in the East China Sea and called for mutual cooperation to make it truly a "Sea of Peace, Cooperation, and Friendship."  
  2. In response, President Xi commented that China would like to sustain peace and stability in the East China Sea. 
  3. The two leaders agreed to hold senior official maritime discussions in Hiroshima from September 14 and use this opportunity to resume negotiations regarding the conclusion of an international agreement based on the "2008 Agreement" related to the development of natural resources in the East China Sea.  
  4. The two leaders also agreed to accelerate discussions between defense authorities to promptly begin operation of a maritime-air communication mechanism.

3 Regional Situations

(1) The South China Sea

  1. Prime Minister Abe commented that Japan hopes that China acts appropriately in regard to the South China Sea issue, a matter of common interest to the international community, including Japan, that directly affects regional peace and stability. He also encouraged China to follow the rules of international law and work to remove uncertainty among neighboring countries.     
  2. In response, President Xi explained China's existing position. 

(2) North Korea

Prime Minister Abe stated that specific measures should be taken against repeated provocative actions by North Korea, such as the ballistic missiles fired today and SLBM launched last month and urged China to respond constructively as a responsible permanent member of the UN Security Council. He also expressed his hope for cooperation in addressing the abductions issues.

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