Overview of the Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting

July 4, 2011


  • Overview of the Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting-1
  • Overview of the Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting-2

On July 4 (Mon.), Mr. Takeaki Matsumoto, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a meeting for more than three hours from 11:00 AM (12:00 noon Japan time) with Dr. Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, and attended a luncheon hosted by Minister Yang. The overview of the meeting is as follows:

1. Japan-China Relations (Including the Great East Japan Earthquake)

  • Both sides agreed to continue to promote high-level exchanges in the second half of this year, including a visit to China by the Prime Minister of Japan and a holding of the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue.
  • Both sides agreed to promote cooperation related to the Great East Japan Earthquake in areas such as reconstruction assistance, tourism promotion, and others, as agreed at the Japan-China Summit Meeting in May. Minister Yang reiterated that China would send to Japan a delegation aiming at promoting reconstruction assistance, trade, and investment. Minister Matsumoto stated that he welcomes more Chinese tourists visiting Japan.
  • Minister Matsumoto took note of the Chinese announcement in late June on relaxing import restrictions on agricultural, fishery, and other products from Japan as a step in the right direction. He requested, however, that China do more on further relaxation of import restrictions. Minister Yang said that he would communicate Japan's perspectives to the relevant agencies. On the other hand, Minister Yang requested that Japan provide accurate and timely information about import restrictions on agricultural products and the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station.
  • Both sides agreed to enhance cultural and human exchanges towards next year, which marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries. They highly praised the success of the events organized by Japan for the Movie and TV Week and the Anime Festival. Both sides agreed to promote cooperation towards the success of the events that China will organize in October, and to further enhance youth and local exchanges.
  • Both sides agreed to hold the third meeting of the New Japan-China Friendship Committee for the 21st Century in Changsha, Hunan Province, and Beijing from 22 to 26 October this year.

2. Economic Issues

  • Minister Matsumoto requested early commencement of negotiations for concluding an Agreement Between Japan and China on Social Security. Minister Yang noted that both countries' relevant authorities have already started to informally exchange views and expressed his willingness to make necessary preparations and launch negotiations at an appropriate time.
  • Minister Matsumoto requested that China take appropriate measures to address recent hikes in the prices of rare earth metals exported from China and widening price differentials between domestic and overseas markets. Minister Yang pointed out to the ecological destruction behind these developments and expressed his understanding that the prices of rare earth metals are determined based on the market conditions. He said that he would nevertheless communicate Japan's views to the relevant authorities.
  • Minister Matsumoto mentioned that China's patent applications on Chinese high-speed railways are attracting attention and being closely observed in Japan. Minister Yang stated that the technologies being applied for patent protections have been developed based on China's own innovations.

3. Promoting Specific Negotiations and Dialogues

  • Both sides shared the view that negations should be launched in the second half of this year towards concluding bilateral treaties on the transfer of sentenced persons and on extradition.
  • Minister Matsumoto expressed his expectation for the enhancement of the dialogue on human rights, and for an early holding of the Japan-China Human Rights Dialogue. Minister Yang answered that he expects to hold the Dialogue at an appropriate time.
  • In order to promote cooperation between the two countries in the Mekong Region, both sides agreed to expedite the process of examining specific cooperation through the Japan-China Policy Dialogue on the Mekong Region, which is scheduled to be held this summer. Minister Yang said that this cooperation could become one of the highlights of Sino-Japanese cooperation.

4. Maritime Issues

  • Noting that ensuring free and safe ocean navigation represents a common interest for Japan, China, and the region as a whole, Minister Matsumoto expressed deep concern over recent intense activities by China in waters surrounding China and called on China to take appropriate actions. He also called for an early resumption of negotiations on an international agreement regarding resources development in the East China Sea.
  • In addition, Minister Matsumoto expressed concern about a possible rising of tensions over maritime issues between the relevant countries and expressed his willingness to work together with China and other countries to avoid such rising of tensions.
  • Minister Yang said that China's stance on resources development in the East China Sea remains unchanged and that China wants to maintain close communication with Japan. He stressed that the dispute between the two countries over the issues related to the ocean should be resolved peacefully through bilateral negotiations, and that the issue of free navigation is a separate problem from such bilateral disputes.
  • Both sides agreed to work towards an early conclusion of a Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) agreement and to improve communication between the relevant authorities of Japan and China towards development of a multi-layered mechanism for crisis management.

5. Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (2+2)

  • Minister Matsumoto stated that the reference to China and the Strait in the "Common Strategic Objectives" in the Joint Statement of the Japan-US Security Consultative Committee calls on China, Japan, and the United States to build a mature confidence, and to work together for playing a responsible and constructive role in addressing regional and global issues and that it does not represent a deviation from Japan's long-held stance on China. In this regard, Minister Matsumoto also noted that it is important for China to improve transparency of its military capabilities.
  • Minister Yang stated that the scope of the Japan-U.S. Alliance should be limited to the relationship between the two countries and expressed deep concern over the reference to China, especially the Taiwan issue, in the Common Strategic Objectives. He mentioned that China pursues a "Military Strategy of Active Defense" and that China's military capabilities are transparent.

6. North Korea

  • Minister Matsumoto stated that achieving goals including denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, through the Six-Party Talks remains a common interest for the countries concerned. While referring to North Korea's increasingly confrontational attitude against the Republic of Korea, Minister Matsumoto expressed hope that progress will be made in the inter-Korean dialogue on denuclearization proposed by the Republic of Korea, followed by the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, which China has been making efforts for. To that end, Minister Matsumoto emphasized that it is important to encourage North Korea to participate in the inter-Korean dialogue and to take positive actions. Minister Matsumoto expressed his expectations for the important role of China, which could assert influence effectively on North Korea, and added that Japan places a strong emphasis on North Korea's concrete actions towards denuclearization. In addition, Minister Matsumoto said that China has an important role to play toward the early resolution of the abduction issue and asked for continued support in this regard.
  • Noting that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is somewhat easing, Minister Yang stated that peace, stability, and denuclearization on the peninsula are common interest for the countries concerned and that efforts should be made to that end continuously. Minister Yang stressed that China's stance is clear and consistent: it supports progress in the inter-Korean dialogue as well as the U.S.-North Korea dialogue, and calls for an early resumption of the Six-Party Talks. Minister Yang said that he highly appreciates Minister Matsumoto's remarks on the role of China as the chair of the Six-Party Talks. Minister Yang expressed his expectations that the dialogue between Japan and North Korea will bring a resolution of the abduction issue in an appropriate manner.

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