Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting (Overview)
April 23, 2012
Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba held the Japan-China foreign Ministers' Meeting with Dr. Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, in Ningbo, China on April 7, on the sidelines of the Japan-China-Republic of Korea Foreign Ministers' Meeting (Japanese officials also in attendance included Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa and Mr. Shinsuke Sugiyama, Director-General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and among other Chinese officials present was Mr. Luo Zhaohui, Director-General, Department of Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs). An overview of the bilateral talks is as follows:
1. Japan-China Relations: General Affairs
- (1) The two sides recognized that bilateral relations were making favorable headway, and concurred that the both sides, as foreign affairs authorities of both countries, would endeavor to promote a celebratory atmosphere for this year's 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China and to further deepen the “Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests” through the steady implementation of specific measures which both sides decided to take during Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's visit to China in December last year.
- (2) The two sides confirmed the need to further accelerate high-level exchanges in order to promote mutual trust in the political sphere and, in this context, concurred on the need to hold a high-level economic dialogue between the two countries at the earliest possible time. In this connection, Minister Gemba renewed his expectation for a Chinese leader's visit to Japan. He also stated that Prime Minister Noda's visit to China in May this year for the Trilateral Summit Meeting of Japan, China and the ROK would provide an important opportunity. In reply, Minister Yang said China would welcome the Japanese Prime Minister's visit in May and voiced his intention to make elaborate preparations to that end. He also expressed his gratitude for the renewed invitation for a Chinese leader to visit Japan.
- (3) The two sides also concurred on the importance of interchanges at the parliamentary and political-party levels.
2. North Korea
- (1) The two sides noted that both Japan and China were closely watching developments related to North Korea and shared concerns about the situation. They concurred that they would keep up their efforts until the very end in urging North Korea to exercise restraint in order to prevent further deterioration of the situation. Both sides also concurred that Japan and China would maintain close contact and cooperation.
- (2) In this context, Minister Gemba stated that if North Korea dared to launch a missile which it called a “satellite” it would be a clear violation of the relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions and that, therefore, the international community including the UN Security Council, should take appropriate measures. He also renewed Japan's request for China's understanding and cooperation with regard to the abduction issue.
3. Japan-China Relations: Specific Issues
(1) Cooperation on Maritime Affairs
- (a) The two sides concurred on the convening of the first plenary meeting of Japan-China high-level talks on maritime affairs in China in mid-May as a result of mutual consultations based on a top-level agreement reached during Prime Minister Noda's visit to China in December last year.
- (b) Minister Gemba renewed Japan's request for the early resumption of negotiations on the conclusion of international agreement regarding the development of natural resources in the East China Sea. In response, Mr. Yang expressed China's wish to further promote close contact and communication in order to resume the negotiations as soon as possible and thereby help achieve positive progress.
(2) Economic and Post-disaster Cooperation
- (a) The two sides shared the view that they would cooperate toward the signing of “the Trilateral Agreement for the Promotion, Facilitation and Protection of Investment” as a major accomplishment at their forthcoming Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting. They also shared the view that they would have closer communication among Japan, China and the ROK toward the launching of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) among the three countries at an early stage.
- (b) The two sides concurred on the need for further deepening mutual cooperation in fields such as environmental protection/energy saving including specific large-scale projects and financial/fiscal matters.
- (c) Minister Gemba renewed Japan's strong request for the early relaxation and lifting of China's import restriction on Japanese food products etc; the early easing and elimination of the Government of China's travel restriction to Fukushima and other areas devastated by the disaster in March last year, and early resumption of direct air service between those disaster-stricken areas and China. In response, Mr. Yang stated that China would continue seriously studying relevant measures from the standpoint of conducting a scientific review and ensuring the safety of the Chinese people. Regarding the issue of resuming direct air flights early, he noted that the Chinese authorities concerned were encouraging resumption of direct flights to Sendai and Fukushima on the basis of market needs.
- (d) Minister Gemba stated that Japan was preparing to start issuing multi-time visas to individual Chinese tourists visiting the three disaster-stricken Japanese prefectures from July on the assumption of introducing the measure for a trial period. In response, Mr. Yang said China would welcome the issuance of more visas to Chinese tourists.
(3) Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges
The two sides concurred on the need to further step up mutual cooperation in order to make a success of various events to be held in commemoration of the “Friendship Year for Japan-China People-to-People Exchanges,” slated to be staged in Tokyo on April 10, including an opening ceremony to be sponsored by China.
(4) Destruction of Abandoned Chemical Weapons
The two sides shared the recognition that they would promote the disposal of abandoned chemical weapons in accordance with the destruction plan concluded between Japan and China.
4. Japan-U.S.-China Dialogue
Minister Gemba referred to Japan's expectation to hold a Japan-U.S.-China dialogue as soon as possible. Mr. Yang replied that China was now studying the matter in earnest.
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