National / Politics

Japan and China considering holding high-level economic dialogue in spring

Kyodo

The Japanese and Chinese governments are considering holding a high-level economic dialogue, possibly in the spring, in China to discuss trade and investment issues, sources close to the matter said Sunday.

Through the ministerial talks, the countries will aim to improve ties based on a “new era” of relations that they agreed to establish during a meeting in Beijing in October between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The sources said China is hoping to promote ties with Japan amid U.S.-China trade friction.

If held, it will be the fifth such dialogue between Japan and China, with the last one taking place in Tokyo in April.

In a meeting in October, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told Abe that he hopes to achieve “win-win outcomes” by developing ties in a stable manner, especially through economic and trade cooperation.

Tokyo and Beijing are expected to discuss ways to promote free trade and maintain the multilateral trading system at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump is pursuing “America First” policies.

The two countries will also discuss cooperation on advanced technologies.

The other agenda items will include cooperation on infrastructure development in third countries while taking into account their fiscal health.

Japan could potentially ask China to correct unfair trade practices such as subsidies to state-owned companies and violations of intellectual property rights.

According to the sources, China sounded out Japan about holding the dialogue at an early date. The meeting is expected to be held after the National People’s Congress in China starting on March 5 and following Diet deliberations on the budget for the fiscal year starting April 1.

The dialogue will be chaired by Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and industry minister Hiroshige Seko will be among Japanese members participating in the dialogue.

Regarding a visit to Japan next year, Xi told Abe during their October talks in Beijing that he will “seriously” consider his first trip to the country since taking office.