BEIRUT

World

Japan, China ministers hold first meeting since Dec

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo Thursday, May 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

TOKYO: The Japanese and Chinese trade ministers held talks Saturday in the first high-level meeting between the two countries since a visit by Japan's premier to a controversial war shrine sparked a furious diplomatic row in December.

Toshimitsu Motegi and his Chinese counterpart Gao Hucheng agreed to put political tensions to one side to boost bilateral economic ties, when they met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum in Qingdao, Kyodo news agency reported.

It was the first Cabinet-level meeting since hawkish Japanese premier Shinzo Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine on December 26 provoked outrage in Beijing, inflaming diplomatic tensions already running high over a bitter territorial dispute.

China, along with other Asian nations, regards the shrine as a symbol of what it says is Japan's unwillingness to repent for its aggressive warring last century.

"Although Japan and China have difficult issues, we agreed that we should proceed with cooperation between the two countries based on our mutually beneficial and strategic relationship," Motegi was quoted by Japanese state broadcaster NHK as saying following the meeting in the Chinese port city.

The talks, which lasted about 20 minutes, were held in a "very good atmosphere", Motegi told reporters.

Relations between the Asian giants plunged to their lowest in years in September 2012 after Japan nationalised part of a South China Sea island chain known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.

Tokyo controls the islands, which are strategically sited and may harbour mineral resources, but Beijing claims sovereignty.

Paramilitary vessels from both sides have shadow-boxed in waters around the islands since then, with some observers warning of the risk of a limited military confrontation that could have disastrous regional implications.

However, in recent months the temperature has cooled and there have been signs that the two sides, who are economically interdependent, are moving towards a diplomatic detente.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

The Japanese and Chinese trade ministers held talks Saturday in the first high-level meeting between the two countries since a visit by Japan's premier to a controversial war shrine sparked a furious diplomatic row in December.

It was the first Cabinet-level meeting since hawkish Japanese premier Shinzo Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine on December 26 provoked outrage in Beijing, inflaming diplomatic tensions already running high over a bitter territorial dispute.

Relations between the Asian giants plunged to their lowest in years in September 2012 after Japan nationalised part of a South China Sea island chain known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here