Business

China's premier asks Japanese business leaders to back momentum of improving ties

Kyodo

Premier Li Keqiang is urging the Japanese business community to support and propel the current momentum of improving bilateral ties.

In a speech to business and former government leaders from the two countries in Beijing on Tuesday, Li said: “Frankly speaking, the foundation of China-Japan relations is not solid enough,” although exchanges and cooperation in a range of fields have been on the rise.

“It is necessary for both sides to make more and more efforts,” he said at the Great Hall of the People as top corporate executives of the two countries met for their annual meeting to discuss ways to expand economic ties despite years of political tension.

Former Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan said business leaders are duty bound to take “as many as possible active actions that will benefit relations of the two countries,” while the lack of political mutual trust persists.

“China-Japan relations are now in the middle of toiling up a mountain path. If not moving forward, they could come down and they are at a crucial period,” Zeng told the meeting.

Around 60 heads of major companies, including Canon Inc., Nomura Holdings Inc., Dongfeng Motor Corp. and Bank of China Ltd., attended.

Former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda was also among the attendees.

The delegation from Tokyo was headed by Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of the Keidanren business lobby, who said the time is ripe for the two countries to have a “new dimension of industrial cooperation” and they have to increase exchanges to achieve that progress.

Keidanren and the China Center for International Economic Exchanges co-hosted the first meeting of its kind last year in Tokyo with the hope of gaining a better understanding of changes in the business climate of each country.

This year’s two-day meeting through Wednesday took place after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping agreed in September that strong cooperation between the world’s second- and third-largest economies is vital not only for their prosperity but also for that of the rest of the world.

Those talks were held on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit. Abe and Xi, in their first talks in nearly a year and a half, agreed to expand positive aspects of the bilateral relationship while acknowledging that ties remain unstable, mainly due to differences over territorial issues.

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