Overview of Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting
During a visit to Hanoi, Viet Nam, Mr. Seiji Maehara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a meeting with Dr. Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, for one hour and twenty minutes from 8:30 a.m. on October 29 (local time). The following is an overview of the meeting:
1. Overall Japan-China Relations
(1) The Ministers exchanged views on the current circumstances and the overall improvement of Japan-China relations, and agreed that each side would make efforts to steadily advance a "Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests."
(2) Minister Maehara stated Japan's firm position on the Senkaku Islands. In response, Minister Yang explained China's position.
(3) It was then decided that the result of the meeting would be reported back to Mr. Naoto Kan, Prime Minister of Japan, and Mr. Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of China.
2. Specific Issues
(1) People-to-people exchanges
Minister Maehara referred to a Japanese youth delegation scheduled to visit China (headed by Mr. Satsuki Eda, former President of the House of Councillors) and another group of Japanese youths (headed by Ms. Makiko Kikuta, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs) scheduled to visit the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, among others. The Ministers agreed that both Japan and China would continue to firmly advance exchanges in the private sector as well as people-to-people exchanges.
(2) Resource development in the East China Sea
Minister Maehara stated that negotiations on the international agreement to execute the 2008 agreement on resource development in the East China Sea should be resumed at an early date. He also requested a detailed explanation from the Chinese side on the current moves by the Chinese side regarding the Shirakaba gas field. In response, Minister Yang said that there should be a set of right conditions and environment for negotiations to take place, and that the Chinese side is still dealing with the Shirakaba gas field in line with the explanations it has provided thus far.
(3) Defense exchanges
Minister Maehara stated that building trust between defense authorities is an extremely important element for the development of the Japan-China relations, and expressed his hope to promptly resume regular defense exchanges.
(4) Rare earth
Minister Maehara expressed concern about China's response regarding the export of rare earth. He also stated that the issue of rare earth could impact not only the global economy including the Japanese economy but also potentially the Chinese economy as well. Minister Yang explained that China had been dealing with the issue for the sake of environmental protection and resource management, and that it had never used the issue as a bargaining tool and would never do so in the future.
(5) Japan-China aviation talks
Minister Maehara stated his hope that the aviation talks between the Japanese and Chinese authorities would resume in a prompt manner as a symbol of the improvement of Japan-China relations. In response, Minister Yang responded that he would like to convey the message to relevant authorities.
(6) Anti-Japanese demonstrations
Minister Maehara said that it was unfortunate that some of the anti-Japanese demonstrations occurring in China since mid-October involved destructive activities. He requested that China continue to secure the safety of Japanese nationals and companies in China.
3. North Korea
The Ministers discussed issues including the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. During the discussion, Minister Maehara stated that North Korea must show some progress in accordance with the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks.
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