China, Japan tout 'recovered' ties amid global uncertainty

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, center left, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, center right, and members of Chinese and Japanese delegations attend a group photo event before the Japan-China high level economic dialogue at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Sunday, April 14, 2019.(Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono speaks at the Japan-China high level economic dialogue with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Sunday, April 14, 2019. Kono says China and Japan have the opportunity to “take charge of the economic field” during a time of worldwide uncertainty.(Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, second from right, attends the Japan-China high level economic dialogue with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Sunday, April 14, 2019.(Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi leave after an opening ceremony for the Japan-China year of youth exchange at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Sunday, April 14, 2019.(Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend a group photo event before the Japan-China high level economic dialogue at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Sunday, April 14, 2019.(Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono speaks at an opening ceremony for the Japan-China year of youth exchange at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Sunday, April 14, 2019.(Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, attend an opening ceremony for the Japan-China year of youth exchange at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Sunday, April 14, 2019.(Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, eight from left, and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, ninth from right, attend the Japan-China high level economic dialogue at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Sunday, April 14, 2019.(Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)

BEIJING — China and Japan have the opportunity to "take charge of the economic field" during a time of worldwide uncertainty, Japan's foreign minister said Sunday, as trade pressures from the United States have prompted both countries to seek alternative markets.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing to discuss youth exchanges and economic relations between the two countries, whose ties "completely recovered" last year, according to Kono.

The relationship was turbulent in previous years due to an unresolved dispute over islands in the East China Sea. High-level exchanges were frozen in 2012 after Japan nationalized the small group of remote islands claimed by Beijing. The act set off violent protests in China and sent Japanese investment and tourism into a nose dive.

Trade and investment have since rebounded, and companies from the two nations are considering joint projects in third countries such as Thailand.

While "the current economic situation is complicated and profoundly changing," Wang said, "Sino-Japanese economic cooperation is constantly advancing at a solid pace."

China and the U.S. said a week earlier that they achieved new progress in talks aimed at ending a tariff standoff over Beijing's industrial and technology policies. A conclusion to the dispute, which has shaken financial markets, remains uncertain.

Two issues at the center of China-U.S. trade frictions — forced technology transfer and intellectual property — were raised by the Japanese delegation Sunday, said Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Takeshi Osuga.

Osuga told reporters at an evening news briefing that the Chinese side noted that Chinese tech giant Huawei's activities in Japan have been affected by certain policies. To this, Kono responded that Japan has never taken any measure with the objective of excluding any company or product, Osuga said.

Several countries have expressed concerns over Huawei, which the U.S. has accused of being controlled by China's ruling Communist Party and thus obliged to spy on its behalf. Huawei maintains that it would say no to requests from the Chinese government for confidential information about foreign users of its technology. Japan's cybersecurity agency says suppliers deemed high-risk, including Huawei, will be excluded from government purchases.

Meanwhile, Japan's exports have suffered as a result of slowing Chinese growth. China is Japan's largest trading partner, and Japanese companies — from carmakers to department stores — play a major role in the Chinese economy.

President Donald Trump has also imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Japan, and threatened automobile tariffs that would leave Japan among the hardest-hit.

Kono said Sunday that Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely visit Japan this year. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to China last fall was the first formal visit to Beijing by a Japanese leader in nearly seven years.

People also read these

AP Explains: Why China is stepping up against climate change

Jun 2, 2017

AP Explains: China is stepping forward to expand its renewable energy industry as President Donald...

The Latest: Death toll in China's Sichuan quake rises to 13

Aug 9, 2017

A local government in southwest China says the death toll from a strong earthquake has risen to 13...

China reports no major collapses following powerful quake

Aug 10, 2017

Chinese monitors say they've detected multiple landslides but no major building collapses following...

Chinese bitcoin exchange announces it is ending trading

Sep 15, 2017

One of China's biggest bitcoin exchanges says it will stop trading following reports regulators...

China jails seller of VPN services

Dec 22, 2017

A Chinese official newspaper says an entrepreneur who sold virtual private network service has been...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales[at]aseancoverage.com