April 25, 2018
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Japan, China hold first high level economic dialogue in 8 years

Tokyo, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- Top diplomats from Japan and China began the first round of a dialogue Monday for the first time in eight years, with an aim to strengthen bilateral relations and economic cooperation at a time when fears of a trade war between China and the United States are rife.

Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi had earlier met in Tokyo on Sunday and reiterated their commitment to improve ties and to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

They had also agreed to first mutual visits by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping, since both leaders assumed offices in 2012.

The thaw in relations between the world's second and third largest economies - which have been strained over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands - comes at a time when both are apprehensive of the fallouts of the consequences of the trade protectionism policy of the US.

China is also expected to seek Japan's backing for its "One Belt, one Road" initiative, as well as a possible Japanese mediation in the trade war between Beijing and Washington.

On Monday, Kono is also scheduled to meet with Abe, who is set to leave for the US on Tuesday to hold a two-day summit with Trump at his residence in Mar-a-Lago (Florida) to discuss North Korea's denuclearization and trade issues.

The Japan-China talks also come ahead of two much-anticipated summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in in April, and between Kim and the US president possibly in May.

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