China calls for Japan's joint efforts to advance ties

  • China calls for Japan's joint efforts to advance ties

China calls for Japan's joint efforts to advance ties

But visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono was told by his counterpart Wang Yi that although Beijing welcomed Tokyo's efforts to improve ties, it urged Japan to "put words into real actions".

China and Japan have long sparred over their painful history, with Beijing frequently accusing Tokyo of not properly atoning for Japan's invasion of China before and during World War Two. While Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tried to spearhead a push to fix the relationship, in a survey conducted late a year ago just 23 percent of Chinese respondents and 6.7 percent of Japanese saw ties between the two countries as good.

"Your visit to China at the beginning of the year shows the Japanese government's strong willingness to improve bilateral ties", Wang told Kono, who is on his first China visit as Japanese foreign minister.

"China-Japan relations have always been like a boat going against a current, and if there is no progress then things go backwards", he added.

It is likely the two sides will discuss recent territoral disputes in the East China and South China Seas.

"It is important not only to discuss issues related to our two countries, but for Japan and China to stand side by side to deal with global issues", he said.

Tokyo's decision to "nationalise" some of the islets in 2012 led to a major falling out between the two countries, and the fragile relationship has been slow to recover.

"Not only do we need to manage our bilateral relations, but we also need to work together to deal with issues facing the entire globe, in particular the issue of North Korea, which is the matter at hand for worldwide society as a whole".

The Chinese minister also called for Japan "not to slack or fall back, and work together with China to meet each other halfway".

Kono will also seek to reach a broad accord on a bilateral social security agreement that would eliminate dual pension payments by Japanese expats in China and vice versa.

Meanwhile, Kono may lodge a protest over the entry of a submerged Chinese submarine into the contiguous zone around Japanese territorial waters near the Senkakus earlier this month.

The meeting, which was scheduled for last December, was postponed following the impeachment of former South Korean president Park Geun-Hye.