Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday sought China’s cooperation in addressing North Korean provocations during his meeting with Beijing’s top diplomat.
“To solve the problem of North Korea peacefully and diplomatically, Japan wants to cooperate with China, which has a great influence (on Pyongyang),” Abe said in his meeting with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo.
At the outset of the meeting, which was open to the media, Yang said he expects other countries to “play constructive roles” so the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be realized. Yang occupies a post equivalent to deputy prime minister but superior to foreign minister.
The two met days after Pyongyang fired off its third ballistic missile in three weeks. That missile flew about 400 km and is believed to have fallen within Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan.
As Pyongyang continues to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in defiance of U.N. resolutions, Tokyo has been eager to strengthen cooperation with Beijing on the issue.
China is deemed to have a significant sway over the reclusive regime, accounting for around 90 percent of the North’s global trade.
Abe also expressed willingness to improve bilateral ties, with this year marking the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Tokyo and Beijing.
Abe and President Xi Jinping are expected to hold talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20 leaders’ meeting in Germany in July.
After arriving in Japan on Monday, Yang held talks with Foreign Minister Fumiko Kishida and Shotaro Yachi, head of the secretariat of the National Security Council and a key foreign policy aide to Abe.
Earlier Wednesday, Yang met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and agreed to accelerate bilateral economic cooperation, a government source said.