Japan's Abe Heads to China Vowing to Lift Ties to ‘New Level’

Shinzo Abe's visit this week will be the first formal one by a Japanese prime minister in seven years

Efforts in advancing China-Japan ties should "persevere unremittingly to prevent the appearance of new twists and turns" so that previous efforts did not go to waste, Mr Li at a joint briefing with Mr Abe. China is now the world's second largest economy and Japan the third. Although Japan's alliance with the U.S. keeps the nation in lockstep with Washington on most geopolitical issues, Mr Abe has moved to shore up economic ties with China - its biggest trading partner. "In other words India, Japan plus one", said Gokhale.

Mr Abe, who returned to power in 2012 when Sino-Japanese ties were in tatters due to a feud over East China Sea islands, has met President Xi many times since their first chilly conversation in 2014 on the sidelines of a regional summit in Beijing.

Mr Abe vowed in a speech to parliament on Wednesday to raise the relationship with China to a higher level through regular leaders' visits and business cooperation.

This was announced by the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe at the opening session of the local Parliament, reports the Chronicle.info with reference to RBC.

Iwamura called for boosting cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and promoting trilateral trade cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea.

"Relations between countries are paralyzed".

While anxious about China's growing naval power, Japan is also keen for closer economic ties with its biggest trading partner, but it must manage that rapprochement without upsetting its key security ally, the United States.

During their meeting, the two affirmed the importance of a strong, stable, and mutually beneficial trade and economic relationship between their nations.

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Abe told Li that Japan will end official development assistance to China, which Tokyo has continued since the year after the two countries signed the bilateral Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978, after implementing a new assistance program this fiscal year. Abe's official visit is described as the first of its kind since late 2011, although he has made several trips to China to attend global gatherings in the meantime. Is Japan at a similar cusp wherein long-term strategic decisions have to be arrived at in relation to China?

And while Japan has been critical of Mr Trump's policy of slapping tariffs on China, Mr Abe's government shares some United States concerns on trade and investment.

The incident prompted anti-Japanese riots in China, and kicked off a frosty spell that has only recently begun to thaw.

While Japan, anxious about China's growing naval power, is keen for closer economic ties with its biggest trading partner, it must manage that rapprochement without upsetting its key security ally, the United States, with which it has trade problems of its own.

According to a survey released ahead of the 14th Beijing-Tokyo Forum held here earlier this month, more than 70 percent of the respondents in China and Japan view bilateral relations as important and more than 60 percent hope the two countries enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

"The Trump administration's economic nationalism and trade protectionism are a leading driver to improved ties between Beijing and Tokyo", said Zhu Feng, an Asia expert at Nanjing University.

"We are also discussing a Japanese high-tech amphibian aircraft also and I hope there will be progress made in this regard (during the summit)", Hiramatsu said.

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