Japan-China Relations

Premier of the State Council of China Li Keqiang Visits Japan
Japan-China Summit Meeting and Banquet

May 9, 2018
Japanese

  • salute and the guard of honor ceremony for the Japan-China Summit Meeting
  • leaders of Japan and China shaking hands
  • Japan-China Summit Meeting
On May 9, commencing at about 4:15 p.m. for approximately one hour and 50 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a Japan-China Summit Meeting with Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of China, who was paying an Official Visit to Japan, at the State Guest House, and hosted a Welcome Banquet. The overview is as follows.

(From Japan Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr. Yasutoshi Nishimura, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Kotaro Nogami, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Shotaro Yachi, Secretary-General of the National Security Council's Secretariat, Mr. Yutaka Yokoi, Ambassador of Japan to China, and others attended, and from China Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Mr. He Lifeng, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, Mr. Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cheng Yonghua, Ambassador of China to Japan, and others attended.)

1 Opening Remarks

(1) Prime Minister Abe congratulated Premier Li on his reappointment, and expressed his gratitude that Premier Li chose Japan as the destination for his first foreign visit after his reappointment. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe stated that he wished to make the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China a year that would be a new start for Japan-China relations. The overview of his statements is as follows. 
  1. I hope to expand cooperation and exchanges between the two countries in every field and, based on a "Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests," I would like to advance improvement of the relationship on all fronts, and elevate Japan-China relations to a new stage. 
  2. With Premier Li's visit to Japan as the first step, I hope to steadily build up high-level exchanges, including my visit to China before the end of this year and President Xi Jinping's visit to Japan. It is important that the citizens of both countries can feel the progress of Japan-China relations through the leader's mutual visits.
  3. Japan and China share great responsibility for the peace and prosperity of the region and the international community. Improvement and development of the relations between the two countries will also lead to meeting the expectations of other countries. I would like to work together with Premier Li. 
(2) The overview of the response from Premier Li is as follows. 
  1. I appreciate the repeated invitations to visit Japan. This is my first visit to Japan since I was appointed Premier.
  2. Over the past few years, our two countries experienced a detour with wind and rain, but the wind and clouds have passed away and the sky has cleared up when I participated in today's welcome ceremony.
  3. When we met at an international conference, we discussed about our hopes for improving relations and the necessity of moving closer to each other. Subsequently, we maintained the momentum toward improvement, and the relations between our two countries have got back on normal track through my official visit. Going forward, we should aim to achieve new development for stable and sound development over the long term.
  4. Both countries have important responsibilities as major economic entities in the world.
  5. Reflecting on the spirit of the treaty on the occasion of its 40th anniversary and bringing back the relations between the two countries to the normal track is not only beneficial for the two countries but also meets the expectation of the world.

2 Overview of Japan-China relations

(1) Premier Li explained about China's basic approach regarding Japan-China relations by elaborating on his opening remarks, and in response, Prime Minister Abe mentioned the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China while stating that he hoped to inherit the spirit of his predecessors to open up a new road towards matured Japan-China relations, and in particular, he emphasized the importance of building a relationship of trust between the two leaders.

(2) Furthermore, Premier Li issued an invitation for Prime Minister Abe to visit China by the end of this year. The two leaders shared the view to steadily build up high-level exchanges including Prime Minister Abe's visit to China by the end of this year and President Xi Jinping's subsequent visit to Japan.

3 Strengthening economic relationship

(1) Prime Minister Abe explained that this year is the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening of China, that Japan has consistently supported and assisted the reform and opening-up policy of China, that Japan's investment in China is one trillion yen, Japanese companies have over 30,000 bases there which is contributing to China's employment, and emphasized the importance of building new cooperative relations in the economic field on this foundation. Premier Li reflected on Japan's engagement in the reform and opening policy of China to date and stated that he hoped to protect free trade together with Japan.

(2) The two leaders shared the view mainly regarding the following points, taking into account the discussions at the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue held in April.
  1. Opening up of new cooperation fields in the context of the response to new technologies and the rapidly falling birthrate and aging population. The two leaders welcomed the fact that memoranda related to these fields had been signed between the authorities.

  2. Building of a free, open, and fair economic order based on international rules, in order to maintain and promote the free economic and trading system
    1. The two leaders welcomed the signing of the Japan-China Social Security Agreement, and decided to aim for early conclusion of the agreement in order to alleviate the burdens of the companies of the two countries. 
    2. Regarding financial cooperation, Prime Minister Abe welcomed China's recent measures to open its financial markets to the world, and stated his expectation that this would constitute major progress toward realization of financial cooperation. In response, Premier Li communicated the fact that a Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) limit quota of 200 billion yuan (approximately 3.4 trillion yen) would be granted to Japan. Furthermore, the two leaders shared the view to promptly complete the work for establishment of a Renminbi Clearing Bank and conclusion of a yen/yuan currency swap agreement. Moreover, Premier Li stated that he would accelerate the process of granting bond business licenses to Japanese-owned financial institutions and entry to the Chinese market based on laws and regulations. 
    3. Regarding food product trade, the two leaders welcomed the fact that the addition of rice-refining facilities, etc. has now been realized in order to expand exports of Japan-produced rice to China. Furthermore, they decided to establish a joint expert group regarding the import restrictions on Japan-produced food products after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
    4. The two leaders confirmed that they would strengthen cooperation regarding the negotiations for the RCEP and the Japan-China-Republic of Korea FTA.
  1. Cooperation in third countries and global issues
    1. Regarding Japan-China business cooperation in third countries, the two leaders shared the view to establish a new "committee" for discussions between ministries and agencies jointly involving the public and private sectors under the framework of the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue in order to discuss specific projects, and to hold a "forum" as a place for exchanges among companies on the occasion of Prime Minister Abe's visit to China.
    2. Prime Minister Abe once again explained the position of Japan that it would explore the possibilities for cooperation for each individual project, based on international standards such as openness, transparency, economic viability, and financial sustainability. 
    3. The two leaders confirmed that they would deepen cooperation regarding common issues such as environmental issues, climate change, biodiversity and SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

4 Promoting people-to-people exchanges

(1) The two leaders shared the recognition that good public sentiment is an essential foundation for the stable development of bilateral relations, and to utilize the opportunities of this year's events to commemorate the "40th anniversary", the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and 2022 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics to further promote people-to-people exchanges in every field, including tourism, culture, disaster risk reduction.

(2) Regarding tourism exchanges, the two leaders mentioned as many as 7.36million Chinese tourists visited Japan last year, and Premier Li has worked hard for youth exchanges between Japan and China for many years. They shared the view that they would continue to boost such exchanges among citizens. 

(3) Prime Minister Abe mentioned the recent signing of the Japan-China Film Co-production Agreement and the fact that the Inter-Governmental Consultation on Japan-China Cultural Exchange was recommenced in April this year for the first time in nine years, reaffirming that he would advance cultural exchanges. 

(4) Prime Minister Abe mentioned Japan's assistance with respect to the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake and China's assistance with respect to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, reiterating that he would advance cooperation in the field of disaster risk reduction.

(5) Premier Li declared that China would give Japan two new crested ibises as a symbol of goodwill between the two countries, and Prime Minister Abe expressed gratitude.

(6) The two leaders shared the view to advance cooperation in consular affairs which is the foundation of the movement of persons, and in particular, they shared the view to accelerate negotiations toward the early conclusion of the Treaty between Japan and China on Extradition and the Treaty between Japan and China on the Transfer of sentenced Persons.

5 Maritime security

(1) Under the notion that the peace and stability of the East China Sea is the foundation of improvement in Japan-China relations, the two leaders reaffirmed their shared recognition that they would make the East China Sea a "Sea of Peace, Cooperation, and Friendship."

(2) The two leaders shared recognition of the importance of fostering mutual trust in the maritime security field, and from this perspective, welcomed the fact that the Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism between the defense authorities of Japan and China had been concluded after ten years of consultations. Furthermore, they shared the view to take this opportunity to promote further dialogue and exchanges between the defense authorities of the two countries. In this regard, the importance of the field officer-level exchanges that were recently recommenced for the first time in six years was mentioned. 

(3) The two leaders confirmed complete adherence to the 2008 Agreement regarding the development of resources in the East China Sea, and shared the view to further strengthen communication with the aim of recommencing consultations for its implementation.

(4) The two leaders shared the view to accelerate towards the early conclusion of the Japan-China Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) agreement and expand cooperation in the fields of fostering the trust of the maritime law enforcement agencies and in maritime environment and maritime affairs. Furthermore, they confirmed the importance of frameworks such as the Japan-China Security Dialogue and the Japan-China High-Level Consultation on Maritime Affairs, etc.

6 North Korea

(1) Prime Minister Abe stated that he held his first telephone talk with President Xi Jinping last week (May 4) and they were able to conduct a straightforward and meaningful exchange of views, while noting that the recent moves by North Korea were the result of the pressure by Japan, the United States and China cooperating with the international community to put pressure on North Korea, expressing his appreciation to China's efforts, including the visit to China by Chairman Kim Jong-un this week (May 7-May 8). 

(2) The two leaders confirmed that the denuclearization of North Korea is a common goal of Japan and China, and welcomed the recent Inter-Korean Summit as a positive development. 

(3) Prime Minister Abe stated that it is important for Japan and China to cooperate to ensure the realization of the disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner by North Korea, and the two leaders confirmed that full implementation of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions continues as the common position of Japan and China.

(4) Prime Minister Abe communicated the idea that there was no change to the idea that Japan aims to comprehensively resolve outstanding issues of concern, including the abductions issue and nuclear and missile programs, based on the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration in order to normalize diplomatic relations, and Japan and China shared the view to cooperate towards the early resolution of the abductions issue.

7 Banquet

(1) On May 9, commencing from about 7:05 p.m. for approximately one and a half hours, a Welcome Banquet hosted by Prime Minister Abe was held, and the two leaders conversed in a friendly atmosphere on topics such as economic exchanges.

(2) Those who have contributed to the development of Japan-China relations in the fields of politics, the economy, culture were invited to the Banquet.

[Reference] List of signed documents

International agreements
  • Agreement on Social Security between the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China
  • Film Co-production Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China
Memoranda
  • Memorandum on Japan-China Private Sector Economic Cooperation in Third Countries between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China
  • Memorandum on the Development of Service Industry Cooperation between the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China
  • Memorandum on Strengthening Services Trade Cooperation between the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China
  • Memorandum on Continued Implementation of Cooperation for the Protection of the Crested Ibis Carried out between the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and the State Forestry and Grassland Administration of the People's Republic of China
  • Memorandum of Cooperation on Health and Medical Science between the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan and the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China
  • Memorandum on Exports to China of Japan-Produced Polished Rice between the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan and the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China
  • Memorandum on the Establishment of a Joint Expert group for Responding to the Radioactive Materials Contamination Issue Pertaining to Exports to China of Japan-Produced Agricultural Commodities and Food Products between the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan and the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China
  • Memorandum on a Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism between the Ministry of Defense of Japan and the Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China