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China and Japan Seek to Reaffirm Strategic Relationship in First In-Person Summit in a Year

In a significant diplomatic development, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida engaged in their first face-to-face meeting in over a year on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held in San Francisco. The meeting, which took place on Thursday evening, holds strategic importance as both leaders emphasized the need to reaffirm the strategic relationship between China and Japan.

Prime Minister Kishida shared a photo on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), depicting the handshake between himself and President Xi Jinping, highlighting the historic nature of the meeting. He remarked, “The first Japan-China summit meeting in a year was held with President Xi Jinping.”

During the opening statements, Prime Minister Kishida underscored the shared responsibility of China and Japan to contribute to global peace and prosperity. The sentiments echoed by Kishida emphasized a cooperative approach, promoting a harmonious existence between the two major economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that President Xi Jinping conveyed to Prime Minister Kishida that it was in the best interest of both countries to coexist peacefully, collaborate, and grow together. The Chinese leader emphasized the importance of focusing on common interests while handling differences diplomatically.

President Xi Jinping further suggested that China and Japan should give new meaning to their “strategic relationship of mutual benefit.” The leaders recognized the significance of addressing both common ground and disparities, indicating a commitment to fostering a deeper and more meaningful partnership.

One of the key outcomes of the meeting was an agreement between China and Japan to engage in more high-level economic dialogues at an appropriate time. This dialogue aims to find a resolution to the issue of discharging “contaminated” water from the Fukushima nuclear plant, a matter that has been a source of tension between the two nations. The leaders expressed their willingness to explore avenues for collaboration and dialogue on economic and environmental concerns.

Japanese media reports suggested that discussions between China and Japan might extend to formulating a new framework for addressing export and trade-related matters. This potential framework could provide a structured platform for navigating trade relations and addressing challenges that may arise.

The issue of a seafood ban imposed by China on Japan following the latter’s decision to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima power plant is expected to be on the agenda. Japan may push for the revocation of China’s seafood ban while also seeking the release of Japanese citizens who have been arrested by Chinese authorities.

Overall, the Xi-Kishida meeting marks a pivotal moment in diplomatic relations between China and Japan, offering an opportunity for both nations to strengthen ties, build mutual understanding, and work towards shared objectives in the Asia-Pacific region.

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