National / Politics

Japan and China agree to prepare for Xi's visit despite coronavirus

Kyodo

The foreign ministers of Japan and China agreed Wednesday to continue their close cooperation toward realizing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Japan this spring despite the spread of the new coronavirus in China and around the world.

Speaking by phone, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, agreed on the need to maintain close communication to make sure the forthcoming visit will produce “solid outcomes,” according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The pneumonia-causing coronavirus strain, which is thought to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has spread to more than 30 countries.

As China struggles to contain the disease known as COVID-19, a series of working-level meetings meant to set the stage for Xi’s visit have been put off, raising speculation that the trip may be postponed.

Japanese government officials, however, have said the state visit will go ahead as planned.

During the phone conversation, Motegi expressed appreciation for Beijing’s support in realizing five charter flights between Wuhan in Hubei province and Tokyo to evacuate Japanese nationals and their Chinese family members.

Wang, who doubles as state councilor, briefed Motegi on Beijing’s ongoing efforts to tackle the viral outbreak and expressed gratitude for Japan’s support, such as its delivery of medical supplies to China, the ministry said.

Motegi and Wang held face-to-face talks earlier this month on the fringes of a security conference in Germany.

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