The Japanese and Chinese governments have held their first high-level economic dialogue in about eight years, according to a Jiji Press report.
Referring to the rapidly changing economic environment for the two countries, Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Monday said at the beginning of the meeting, held in Tokyo, that Japan aimed to leverage this to strengthen the bilateral relationship further.
China hopes that the two nations will discuss the future of bilateral cooperation from a new starting point, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
Tokyo and Beijing were expected to affirm cooperation in the economic field ahead of a trilateral summit among Japan, China and South Korea that is expected to take place in Japan in May, sources familiar with the situation said.
The minister-level meeting, intended for talks on trade and investment issues, is cochaired by Kono and Wang.
The Japanese participants also included Toshimitsu Motegi, minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy; Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko and Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii.
Through the dialogue, Japan aims to underline the importance of free trade based on rules set by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), while China hopes to seek Japan's support for its One Belt, One Road development initiative for countries along the old Silk Road routes.
The discussions may have covered the United States' recently introduced additional steel and aluminum tariffs that target in part imports from Japan and China, informed sources said.
Separate from the meeting, Finance Minister Taro Aso held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Liu Kun, in Tokyo on Monday.
The previous high-level bilateral economic dialogue took place in August 2010. Since then, Japan and China had been unable to hold such talks amid cooler relations between them.
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