TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Kono said on Sunday (Apr 15) that Tokyo and Beijing needed to work more closely together to denuclearise North Korea, in comments made during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.
Wang’s arrival in Tokyo comes ahead of a summit between the two Koreas this month and a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump. The US-North Korean talks are aimed at ending a stand off over Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Wang’s trip also follows an official visit by Kono to Beijing earlier this year, and marks the first visit by a Chinese foreign minister to Japan in a bilateral context in nine years.
“We would like to co-operate further towards the common goal between Japan and China, of establishing a complete, irreversible and verifiable denuclearisation of North Korea,” Kono said as the two began talks in Tokyo.
The meetings also come after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier pledged to reset the sometimes fraught relationship between Asia’s two largest economies.
Wang said the visit was a response to Japan’s positive attitude towards China.
“Since last year, Japan has, in relations with China, displayed a positive message and friendly attitude,” Wang said at the meeting, adding that he hoped that the visit would help the two countries move towards better ties.
Wang on Monday holds high-level talks with Kono and other Japanese Cabinet ministers. On Tuesday, Japanese Self Defense Force officers will meet their counterparts from China’s People’s Liberation Army at a reception hosted by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation aimed at building trust between the past military rivals.
Wang spent eight years in Japan as a diplomat with three of those years as China’s ambassador.