China, Japan seek to mend ties as Trump trade war looms

Japan's Foreign Ministry says the countries aim to make the 'East China Sea' a 'sea of peace, cooperation, and friendship' 

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Monday, April 16

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Monday, April 16 (By Associated Press)

TOKYO (AP) — China and Japan took another step toward mending their troubled relations Monday, resuming high-level economic talks for the first time in nearly eight years.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi led the Chinese delegation, becoming the first foreign minister to visit Japan for bilateral talks since 2009.

Asia's two largest economies have been trying to improve strained ties and now have further reason to cooperate in the face of President Donald Trump's moves to impose tariffs on imports from their countries and his demands that they open their markets more to American exports.

Wang, meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, noted the threats of rising unilateralism and trade protectionism.

Abe heads to the United States on Tuesday to meet with Trump to discuss both trade and Trump's plans for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Japan's leader said that he is seeking China's cooperation in efforts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons development in a full and irreversible way.

Earlier Monday, Japan and China held what was billed as the fourth Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue, the first such meeting since August 2010.

Wang met with his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, for nearly four hours on Sunday, Japan's Foreign Ministry said. The two ministers agreed on the importance of arranging respective visits by Abe to China and Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan.