China, Japan tout ‘recovered‘ ties amid global uncertainty

By YANAN WANG – Associated Press – Sunday, April 14, 2019

BEIJING (AP) – and have the opportunity to “take charge of the economic field” during a time of worldwide uncertainty, ’s foreign minister said Sunday, as trade pressures from the United States have prompted both countries to seek alternative markets.

Foreign Minister met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in to discuss youth exchanges and economic relations between the two countries, whose ties “completely recovered” last year, according to .

The relationship was turbulent in previous years due to an unresolved dispute over islands in the East China Sea. High-level exchanges were frozen in 2012 after nationalized the small group of remote islands claimed by . The act set off violent protests in and sent Japanese investment and tourism into a nose dive.

Trade and investment have since rebounded, and companies from the two nations are considering joint projects in third countries such as Thailand.

While “the current economic situation is complicated and profoundly changing,” Wang said, “Sino-Japanese economic cooperation is constantly advancing at a solid pace.”

and the U.S. said a week earlier that they achieved new progress in talks aimed at ending a tariff standoff over ’s industrial and technology policies. A conclusion to the dispute, which has shaken financial markets, remains uncertain.

Two issues at the center of -U.S. trade frictions – forced technology transfer and intellectual property – were raised by the Japanese delegation Sunday, said Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Takeshi Osuga.

Osuga told reporters at an evening news briefing that the Chinese side noted that Chinese tech giant Huawei’s activities in have been affected by certain policies. To this, responded that has never taken any measure with the objective of excluding any company or product, Osuga said.

Several countries have expressed concerns over Huawei, which the U.S. has accused of being controlled by ’s ruling Communist Party and thus obliged to spy on its behalf. Huawei maintains that it would say no to requests from the Chinese government for confidential information about foreign users of its technology. ’s cybersecurity agency says suppliers deemed high-risk, including Huawei, will be excluded from government purchases.

Meanwhile, ’s exports have suffered as a result of slowing Chinese growth. is ’s largest trading partner, and Japanese companies – from carmakers to department stores – play a major role in the Chinese economy.

President Donald Trump has also imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from , and threatened automobile tariffs that would leave among the hardest-hit.

said Sunday that Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely visit this year. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to last fall was the first formal visit to by a Japanese leader in nearly seven years.

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