Sunday, 18 November, 2018

China, Japan moving from competition to cooperation, leaders say

Shinzo Abe's visit this week will be the first formal one by a Japanese prime minister in seven years Shinzo Abe's visit this week will be the first formal one by a Japanese prime minister in seven years
Lindsey Cook | 27 October, 2018, 18:43

"As China continues its reform and opens its door even wider to the world, more opportunities have emerged in China's cooperation with countries including Japan", Xi told Abe. Although Japan's alliance with the USA keeps the nation in lockstep with Washington on most geopolitical issues, Mr Abe has moved to shore up economic ties with China - its biggest trading partner.

Gokhale said the two leaders are expected to deliberate on regional security issues, situation in Korean peninsula and that India will raise its concerns over terrorism.

Mr Abe, who returned to power in 2012 when Sino-Japanese ties were in tatters due to a feud over East China Sea islands, has met President Xi many times since their first chilly conversation in 2014 on the sidelines of a regional summit in Beijing.

President Xi said that the global situation is changing and emphasized that the two countries are increasingly dependent on one another.

Anti-Japanese riots broke out in China after Tokyo nationalized the islands, called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China, and Beijing froze high-level contacts.

Ahead of the briefing, China and Japan signed an agreement to boost cooperation in the securities markets including the listing of exchange-trade funds (ETFs), and facilitate smoother customs clearance.

With the United States leaning toward protectionism, the two premiers confirmed the importance of maintaining free trade.

Japanese firms including big auto companies like Toyota hope to see normalised ties with China so they can compete with U.S. and European rivals, while Beijing expects Tokyo's endorsement of its ambitious Belt and Road programme, an initiative that Chinese President Xi Jinping hopes will further boost trade and transport links with other countries.

"Both countries would like to move their relationship back to focusing on economics and trade and to push aside some of the hard political issues that [represent] a division between the states", Stephen Nagy, from the Tokyo Christian University, said.

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Before his departure, Abe said the 2 countries have been striving to improve ties as they mark the 40th anniversary this year of concluding their peace and friendship treaty. The Hollywood Reporter said China has imported a total of 12 Japanese films during the first three quarter of 2018.

"In the past several years, the China-Japan relationship has experienced ups and downs".

Hu Lingyuan, director of the Center for Japanese Studies at China's Fudan University, said Trump's trade policy had contributed to closer Sino-Japanese ties. This was because the TPP was seen by Tokyo as the economic inculcation of the USA economy into the region to match America's extensive network of alliances and security partnerships that can be found throughout North and Southeast Asia.

Abe will meet Premier Li in Beijing later on Thursday.

"It is hoped that through this visit, the two sides will usher in a new era when 'competition is transformed into coordination, '" Abe said.

In the past year, China has stepped up its outreach to Japan and others as it locked horns over trade with the United States.

Gokhale said one of the areas forming a part of this discussion will be how India and Japan can collaborate in the context of the Indo-Pacific in Asia and in Africa and on capacity building and on infrastructure projects in a trilateral format - India, Japan plus one.

Japan wants to ensure any joint projects with China are transparent, open and fiscally sound, officials said.

This year, China imported various Japanese films and has been exploring its pool of stories that Beijing could adapt.

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