BEIJING – Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said his country’s development owes a lot to Japan’s cooperation, a remark taken as reflecting Beijing’s willingness to improve strained relations with Tokyo.
“Frankly speaking, China’s economic development today owes a lot to cooperation with Japan, Japan’s economic circle and companies,” Wang was quoted as saying in a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday with Yohei Kono, according to an aide of the former Lower House speaker.
Wang and Kono agreed that the two countries should deal with issues involving the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea from broader perspectives, according to the aide.
“Misjudgment by politicians should not affect the economic development of a country,” Wang was quoted as saying. “China and Japan can build a win-win relationship if they cooperate, but they both fall down if they fight.”
Wang vowed to promote negotiations for a trilateral free-trade agreement involving the two countries and South Korea, saying, “China will handle the issue in a more open fashion and we would like to conclude the talks at an early date.”
Kono, who was leading a delegation of the Association for the Promotion of International Trade Japan, said the two countries “must address the abnormal situation in bilateral relations as early as possible.”
He expressed hope that leaders of the two countries will handle the Senkaku row by taking into account the bigger picture.
The association is one of seven Japanese groups that promote bilateral friendship with China.
Bilateral relations have deteriorated sharply since the central government purchased three of the five Senkaku islets from their private Saitama owner last September.