• Kyodo

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In a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida urged Beijing to comply with an international tribunal ruling that denied China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea.

Kishida conveyed Japan’s concern about the situation in the South China Sea and said he hopes any action that could heighten tension in the region will be avoided, according to a Japanese official.

In response during their meeting Monday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated China’s position on the issue, the official said.

He also demanded that Japan be careful of what it says about South China Sea matters, calling for Tokyo not to repeat mistakes, according to China News Service, a news agency.

Since the July 12 tribunal ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, which came against the backdrop of China’s maritime assertiveness and military buildup in the disputed waters, Beijing has rejected the decision and called on Tokyo not to interfere with issues related to the sea.

Japan wants China to accept the decision as final and binding.

Kishida and Wang met on the sidelines of a series of regional meetings involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the Laotian capital, where South China Sea tensions have been a dominant issue. The two previously met in Beijing in late April.

During their talks that lasted for over an hour, Kishida and Wang did agree that Japan and China should cooperate to ensure the success of the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in China in early September, according to the official.

Ruling on a case brought by the Philippines, the PCA found “no legal basis” for China’s claim to historical and economic rights over almost all of the South China Sea.

Although Japan does not have territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, it sees the waters as a vital shipping lane for its oil imports and wants to see freedom of navigation protected and disputes resolved peacefully for regional stability.

Also, Japan has tensions with China in the neighboring East China Sea, with Chinese vessels, including military ships, repeatedly entering Japanese waters around the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by Beijing.

Kishida told Wang he hopes China will seriously consider Japan’s strong concern over recent developments in the East China Sea, according to the official.

Kishida and Wang agreed to continue talks for the early implementation of a mechanism to reduce the likelihood of unforeseen clashes between the countries’ vessels, the official said.

But negotiations for the so-called Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism between the two countries’ defense officials have made little headway so far.

While Tokyo and Beijing have differing views on the South China and East China seas, Japan is also eager to maintain dialogue.

In the meeting with Wang, Kishida requested China’s cooperation in convening trilateral leaders’ talks with South Korea in Japan this year as well as a ministerial-level bilateral economic dialogue.

Japan also hopes to arrange talks between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Hangzhou.

Wang said China will welcome Abe’s visit for the G-20 meeting, according to the official.

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