Chinese minister visits Japan for talks on N. Korea, regional issues

Shinzo Abe answers a question during an upper house parliamentary session in Tokyo Japan

The visit by Wang, a veteran Japan handler who had served as an ambassador to Tokyo, comes as the world's second and third largest economies attempt to ease tension, caused by longstanding disputes over maritime claims and Japan's wartime legacy.

Japan will propose setting up a new framework to discuss trade issues with the United States in a summit next week, in hopes of persuading it to rejoin the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Nikkei newspaper said on Saturday. Kim is expected to meet US President Donald Trump in May or June.

He finally managed to turn the tide past year with a qualified pledge of cooperation on Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature Belt and Road trade and infrastructure initiative.

Kono told Wang that true improvement in bilateral ties can not be achieved without stability in the East China Sea, where China has challenged Japan's sovereignty over uninhabited islets.

"For the Abe administration, China is essential to effectively pressuring North Korea", said Madoka Fukuda, a professor of global politics at Hosei University in Tokyo. China is motivated by a lack of transparency in USA policymaking, as well as tougher American security and trade stances, she added.

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South Korea's Moon and US President are also preparing for separate, direct talks with Kim, leaving Abe to continue asserting a "maximum pressure" campaign against the North. Still, few see the relationship as good.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with his Japanese counterpart today in what will be the first high-level economic dialogue between the two countries in almost a decade.

The Japan-China Excessive-Stage Financial Dialogue was being held Monday in Tokyo for the primary time since August 2010.

The ministers talked about recent developments in North Korea but Japanese officials refrained from clarifying whether they discussed specifics from the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Xi in Beijing late last month. According to Japanese officials, the dialogue is the first in almost eight years.

Trump tweeted on Thursday that he "would only join TPP if the deal were substantially better than the deal offered to Pres. Obama". The TPP, which Trump withdrew from soon after taking office a year ago, includes 11 Pacific Rim nations, but not China. "So they can use ties with Japan as a form of insurance".

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