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Top diplomats of China and Japan hold talks on handling North Korea issue, hoping to set a foot in N. Korea negotiations Updated: 2018-04-16 18:01:39 KST


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono in Tokyo on Sunday to discuss ways to improve their relationship, as well as the issue of North Korea's nuclear program.
It marked the first time in eight years for China's top diplomat to visit Japan alone.

At the meeting, the two sides agreed that the countries should continue to impose economic sanctions on North Korea, and that China and Japan must closely cooperate to achieve their common goal.

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"I hope our two countries can work together towards our common goals and cooperate together so North Korea will completely and irreversibly denuclearize in a verifiable manner."

The two sides also shared thoughts on thawing their frosty relations, including to agree on seeing their disputed territory regarding the East China Sea as an area of peace, cooperation and friendship.

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"I see this meeting as Japan having a forward-looking view towards relations with China. Through this visit, I hope during the high-level exchange, we can exchange opinions."

This comes after Beijing and Tokyo saw their ties strained to the limit from a dispute over the ownership of a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

The two foreign ministers also held the 4th China-Japan High-Level Economic Dialogue on Monday.
But some experts say the thawing of Tokyo-Beijing relations could be down to Seoul and Washington's upcoming summits with North Korea.

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"Japan is concerned that the U.S. might not be actively responsible for its safety, so it's reaching out its hand to China. Also, Japan fears being shut out of negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program, and China, on the same note, wants to take Pyongyang's nuclear issue into multi-party talks."

Japan's foreign minister had in fact visited South Korea for the first time in over two years last week, with North Korea being one of the issues discussed.
The expert said Japan will continue to highlight its diplomatic presence, but with U.S. President Trump preferring direct talks with North Korea, whether or not talks with the North will develop into multi-party ones remains to be seen.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.
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