Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Working Lunch
April 15, 2019
On April 15, commencing after 12 p.m. (local time), Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, during his visit to the People’s Republic of China, held a Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes) and a working lunch (approximately 1 hour) with H.E. Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China. The overview is as follows (From China, Mr. Kong Xuanyou, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Wu Jianghao, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, and others attended, and from Japan, Mr. Yutaka Yokoi, Ambassador of Japan to China, Mr. Kenji Kanasugi, Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Takeshi Osuga, Foreign Press Secretary, and others attended.).
1 Opening Remarks
(1) The overview of State Councilor Wang’s opening remarks is as follows.
- Yesterday’s Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue was held successfully. We exchanged opinions in a wide range of areas and reached a number of important common views.
- At the opening ceremony for the Japan-China Youth Exchange Promotion Year that the two of us attended, I felt amidst the excitement of young people that Japan-China relations have entered into a new phase.
- Japan-China relations have got back on a normal track through the efforts of both sides. In order to continue to strengthen communication between the two countries and elevate to the next stage, I intend to maintain the current favorable situation, bring even more positive energy, and eliminate any hurdles.
(2) The overview of Minister Kono’s response is as follows.
- Last year, on the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, the relationship between the two countries fully got back on a normal track, and more lively dialogue and exchanges in an array of areas are taking place.
- This year has vital significance in giving further momentum to the improvement and deepening of Japan-China relations since last year and developing the bilateral relationship in a stable manner.
- Amidst increasing uncertainty over international affairs and the world economy, Japan and China need to work together more on global issues and fulfill their responsibilities for peace and stability of the region and the world.
2 High-Level Reciprocal Visits
(1) Both sides exchanged views regarding upcoming major events in the diplomatic schedule. In this context, they once again shared the view on cooperating with each other for a successful G20 Osaka Summit this June.
(2) Both sides shared the view that the two countries will promote communication, exchanges, and cooperation in broad areas and work shoulder to shoulder on global issues in accordance with the memorandum on dialogue between diplomatic authorities signed by Minister Kono and State Councilor Wang during Prime Minister Abe’s visit to China in October 2018 and the annual plan that was prepared based on this memorandum.
[Reference] Dialogues between diplomatic authorities included in the annual plan for 2019
1. Japan-China Strategic Dialogue, 2. Japan-China Consultations between Diplomatic Authorities, 3. Japan-China Security Dialogue, 4. Japan-China Policy Planning Consultations, 5. Japan-China Policy Dialogue on the Mekong Region, 6. Japan-China Policy Dialogue on Africa, 7. Japan-China Consultations on Latin America and the Caribbean, 8. Japan-China Consultations on the United Nations, 9. Japan-China Consultations on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, 10. Japan-China International Law Dialogues, 11. Japan-China Consultations on Consular Affairs, 12. Japan-China Counter-Terrorism Consultations, 13. Japan-China Foreign Press Secretaries’ Consultations
(1) Both sides discussed cooperation in the economic field, taking into account the discussions at the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue held on the previous day (April 14).
(2) With regard to matters of interest to Japan, Minister Kono once again strongly urged the lifting of import restrictions on Japanese food products as well as the realization of Japan’s exports of agricultural products, such as rice and beef, to China. State Councilor Wang responded that China would continue to conduct reviews based on scientific evidence.
(3) Both sides also discussed dialogues in the development field and cooperation on global issues, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include climate change, global health, and marine plastic.
4 People-to-People Exchanges and Consular Affairs
(1) Both sides reaffirmed that they would encourage exchanges among young people between the two countries through this year’s Japan-China Youth Exchange Promotion Year. As part of this, both sides shared the view on strongly promoting exchanges through school trips.
(2) Both sides shared the view on accelerating negotiations towards the early entry into force of the Treaty between Japan and China on the Transfer of sentenced Persons and the Treaty between Japan and China on Extradition .
(3) Minister Kono once again requested that Japanese nationals detained in China be swiftly returned to Japan. State Councilor Wang responded that this matter would be dealt with appropriately in accordance with relevant laws.
5 Maritime Security
(1) Both sides welcomed concrete achievements made last year in connection with the Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism between defense authorities and the Japan-China Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) Agreement. Both sides shared the view on taking a more constructive approach to deepening communication, exchanges, and cooperation in the maritime and security areas.
(2) Minister Kono raised matters, such as activities of Chinese Government vessels and installment of a large buoy in waters near the Senkaku Islands, as well as the activities of Chinese maritime research vessels in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and requested China to take actions that contribute to truly improving Japan-China relations. In addition, Minister Kono once again requested the prompt resumption of negotiations towards the implementation of the “2008 Agreement” on resource development in the East China Sea.
6 Regional and International Affairs
(1) With regard to North Korean affairs, both sides confirmed that they would continue to support the U.S.-North Korea process towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a common goal for both Japan and China, and the importance of fully implementing United Nations Security Council resolutions.
(2) In this context, Minister Kono called for China’s further responses to the issue of “ship-to-ship transfers.” In addition, Minister Kono once again requested the cooperation of China towards the resolution of the abductions issue.
(3) Minister Kono noted that it is important for China to demonstrate the position of having communication in all areas of human rights with transparency, at it is drawing the interest of the international community.