Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Occasion of the General Assembly of the United Nations

24 September 2003

On the occasion of the General Assembly of the United Nations (in New York), a Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held on 24 September 2003 between Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Zhaoxing for approximately 40 minutes. The following is a summary of the meeting.

1. Opening

Foreign Minister Li expressed delight to see Foreign Minister Kawaguchi again in New York, and in response to this Foreign Minister Kawaguchi expressed her gratitude to Foreign Minister Li for the congratulatory telegram that she had received on the occasion of her reappointment.

2. Japan-China Relations

(1) High-level exchanges

(Foreign Minister Li)

I would like to express my gratitude for the hospitality Japan extended to Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the standing Committee of the National People's Congress who successfully visited to Japan in September. Furthermore, the visits to China by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda in August and by Minister of State and Director-General of the Defense Agency Shigeru Ishiba in September also were carried out successfully. Also, on the occasion of the ASEAN+3 Summit Meeting in October, a meeting will take place between Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. That meeting will be the first meeting between the two prime ministers since the new leadership was established in China. I am certain that this meeting will contribute to the further development of Japan-China relations.

Both Japan and China should consider each other's respective concerns and advance Japan-China relations in a manner that takes history as a mirror, and looks toward the future.

(Foreign Minister Kawaguchi)

Following the visit to Japan by Chairman Wu this month, we should continue to hold such high-level exchanges between the two countries. Prime Minister Koizumi was reelected and his approval rating has increased by approximately 20%. Between this new Koizumi administration and China's new leadership, it is important to make efforts for the future of Japan and China, as well as the future of Asia. From this viewpoint, it is very positive that the first summit meeting between Prime Minister Koizumi and Premier Wen will be held on the Occasion of the ASEAN+3 Summit Meeting in October.

(2) The poison gas accident in Qiqihar City

(Foreign Minister Li)

The Japanese government has informed the Chinese side that it wishes to address this issue in a sincere manner. It is my hope that this problem will be solved promptly.

(Foreign Minister Kawaguchi)

The Japanese government also wishes to deal with this issue promptly and will continue to do so in a sincere.

(3) The murder of a family of four in Fukuoka

(Foreign Minister Kawaguchi)

I received information that two suspects have been detained by Chinese authorities and are currently being questioned. We express great gratitude to the Chinese government for placing importance on this issue and taking prompt measures. We hope for close collaboration between the investigative authorities in the future in order to provide appropriate punitive measures.

(4) Taiwan

(Foreign Minister Li)

Taiwan has recently been showing actions that provoke the relationships between China and its friendly partners. I hope that Japan-China relations will not be broken by such actions. I hope that key political figures of Taiwan will not use Japan as a stage to perform activities that divides China.

(Foreign Minister Kawaguchi)

The Japanese government's position regarding its relationship with Taiwan is to maintain non-governmental working relations in accordance with the Japan-China Joint Communique.

3. Situation in North Korea

(Foreign Minister Li)

We praise Japan for taking its constructive role regarding North Korea's nuclear issue. Currently, China is patiently continuing its efforts. Through close cooperation with our friends in Japan, we will work to realize the next six-party talks.

(Foreign Minister Kawaguchi)

At the recent six-party talks, the Chinese side made various considerations for Japan. I have heard that Foreign Minister Li yourself was in meetings with relevant officials until late at night. We highly evaluate such efforts made by the Chinese side. It is important to continue the six-party talks, and to this end, China's role is important. Our wish is to continue to work on this issue in close cooperation with the Chinese side.

Moreover, regarding the abduction issue, as I mentioned in my statements yesterday, Japan is putting forth efforts toward the resolution of this issue and wishes to receive continual the understanding and cooperation of China. (The Chinese side responds with strong nods.)

4. Others

(Foreign Minister Li)

On my visit to the United States, President George W. Bush expressed his wish to continue to enhance US-China relations, and that the United States will firmly maintain the "One China" Policy. With regarding to anti-terrorism, economic and trade relations, and the issue of nuclear non-proliferation, the United States and China agreed to strengthen their relations.

Similar discussions were also held with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Condoleeza Rice, and other relevant legislative officials.

(Finally, Foreign Minister Li asked Foreign Minister Kawaguchi to convey to Prime Minister Koizumi his gratitude for giving him the time for a long meeting during his visit to Japan in August, despite Prime Minister Koizumi's busy schedule.)

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