Overview of the Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting
September 23, 2011
On September 22 (Thu.), during his visit to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a meeting with Dr. Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China for approximately 50 minutes from 17:15 AM (local time) in the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The overview of the meeting is as follows. At the start, Minister Gemba expressed his condolences for the floods occurring in inland China, and Minister Yang responded by conveying his appreciation.
1. General View of Japan-China Relations
Both sides agreed to do their utmost to deepen their "Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests" and improve public sentiment, taking into account that next year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
2. High-Level Exchanges
- (1) Minister Yang expressed his expectations for Prime Minister Noda's visit to China, to which Minister Gemba responded that Prime Minister Noda is also looking forward to visiting China. Both sides agreed to consult about the schedule of the visit.
- (2) Moreover, both sides agreed that it is important to conduct frequent visits between the two countries at the foreign minister level as well, and agreed to coordinate such visits.
3. Japan-China Cooperation in the Wake of the Earthquake
- (1) Both sides agreed to implement cooperation steadily in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, as agreed at the Japan-China Summit Meeting this May. Within that framework, both sides agreed that China would accelerate plans for early implementation of the dispatch of a delegation to Japan aiming at promoting reconstruction assistance, trade, and investment.
- (2) Minister Gemba introduced the "Genki-na Nippon campaign" starting in October in China, including Hong Kong, and Minister Yang stated that China will welcome the holding of the campaign.
- (3) Minister Gemba requested further relaxing and removal of import restrictions by China on food products made in Japan and the resumption of currently canceled charter flights between the disaster-struck areas and China. In response, Minister Yang stated that he will give the request full consideration.
- (4) Minister Yang stated that China would provide exhibition booths for Japanese companies, particularly those in the regions hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake, at the 110th China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) to be held in mid-October in Guangzhou.
4. Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges
- (1) Both sides agreed to accelerate relevant preparations in both countries to celebrate next year's 40th anniversary.
- (2) Both sides agreed to cooperate closely toward the success of exchange events held from October through November, including the Movie and TV Week, the Anime Festival, and the New Japan-China Friendship Committee for the 21st Century.
5. Ocean-related Cooperation
- (1) Minister Gemba stated that the implementation of the 2008 agreement on resources development in the East China Sea could become a symbol of the "Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests" and that it is important to resume negotiations to conclude international agreements early on. In response, Minister Yang stated that both sides should continue close official-level communication toward the resumption of negotiations.
- (2) Both sides agreed to accelerate discussions toward the early conclusion of the Japan-China Search and Rescue (SAR) Agreement.
- (3) Both sides agreed to continue to work closely at the administrative level toward development of a mechanism for maritime crisis management.
- (4) Amid the above interactions, Minister Yang expressed China's position on the Senkaku Islands, and Minister Gemba reiterated Japan's basic position that there is no doubt that the Senkaku islands are clearly an inherent territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law.
6. An Agreement Between Japan and China on Social Security
With regards to an agreement between Japan and China on Social Security, Minister Gemba requested that China consider the interests of the Japanese business sector in the Social Insurance Law of the People's Republic of China which was enacted in July, and avoid bringing about sudden changes. In response, Minister Yang stated that the relevant department is considering the issue.
7. North Korea
Minister Gemba stated that he welcomes the recent dialogues between North Korea and the Republic of Korea, and between the United States and North Korea, and expressed his hope that these dialogues would lead to concrete results toward the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. In particular, he stated that it is important that North Korea take concrete actions to address its uranium enrichment activities and the abduction issue. He also expressed his hope that China would further cooperate and urge North Korea to address these issues.
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