Business

Japanese, Chinese finance chiefs meet for first time since in nearly two years

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

The finance chiefs of Japan and China resumed their bilateral dialogue for the first time in two years Saturday, agreeing to deepen economic and financial ties.

“Both sides emphasized the need to further deepen bilateral pragmatic cooperation in finance, (and to) scale up financial cooperation and support collaborations in the economic, trade and investment fields,” the two nations said in a joint statement.

Finance Minister Taro Aso, who met his Chinese counterpart, Xiao Jie, during the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Yokohama, said the two nations talked neither about the growing threat from North Korea or about currency issues.

As for the Japan-China currency swap deal, which expired in 2013 and has not been renewed, Aso said that while procedural moves are mostly complete, both countries recognize that the deal has become politicized, and that this should be reined in.

In a currency swap, if a partnering country faces a financial crisis, one country provides its currency to help the other.

Aso also noted that China was interested in Japan’s efforts to tame deflation while Tokyo hoped to be updated on certain Chinese economic issues, including excess capacity in the country’s steel industry.

The talks were the first between the two countries’ finance chiefs since June 2015 after ties between the two Asian giants soured in recent years.

The next talks are scheduled to be held in China in next year.

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