Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed the media in Tokyo on May 9 as the rainy weather cleared.
Premier Li said, “The clearing-up weather heralds a favorable future for China and Japan despite twists and turns in the past.” Abe echoed the sentiment and said that Japan will strive to push forward the China-Japan relationship by expanding cooperation exchanges.
Premier Li urges China-Japan relationship to return to normal
On May 9, Abe also spoke at the news conference with Premier Li at Akasaka Rikyu. “I hereby extend my warm welcome to Premier Li Keqiang on behalf of Japan,” he said.
Recalling the time he attended a reception for Premier Li decades ago, then head of the Chinese Youth Delegation, Abe said that he never expected that one day he and Premier Li would be co-chairing a news conference, and that both retained their intentions to ease China-Japan ties.
Premier Li said, “The recollection stays with me as well. This is the first time in eight years that a Chinese premier has made an official visit to Japan, and the first time in 26 years that I have come here in a personal sense. This is indeed a rather lengthy separation for China and Japan, two adjacent significant economies.”
China-Japan ties have experienced some detours, and the momentum of improvement should be treasured by both parties. And this visit to Japan is aimed at bringing the China-Japan relationship back onto the right track, with long-term stable development ahead, for which China is willing to make great efforts in concert with Japan, said Premier Li.
The Premier added that he and Abe reached a consensus on improving China-Japan ties, which not only tallies with the interests of both peoples but is also conducive to the peaceful and stable development of Asia and the world as a whole.
With the year 2018 marking the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, both countries should properly settle disputes on historical events, Taiwan, among other issues, under the principles of the treaty and the four related bilateral political documents helmed by the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement. Further efforts should be made to advance China-Japan ties based on the premise of implementing the political consensus of partnership and non-threat, said Premier Li.
“It is advisable to establish a high-level exchange mechanism between China and Japan to allow authorities on both sides to conduct fruitful meetings,” said Abe, adding that Premier Li already extended an invitation of a state visit to China, followed by Premier Li’s official announcement that Abe was invited for a visit.
Bilateral state visits are of great significance to China-Japan ties, said Premier Li.
Steady progress in China-Japan relations
Before meeting the press, Premier Li and Abe also witnessed the signing of 10 cooperation documents, which cover social security, service industry, health care，pension, finance, energy conservation, environmental protection, safety, and humanities.
Premier Li specifically mentioned the pragmatic cooperation between China and Japan.
“The two countries have strong complementary economies. Both sides agree that they can cooperate in so many areas as innovation and development, thus to accelerate the development of technology and protect intellectual property rights.”
According to the Premier, China agreed to grant Japan RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFII) quota of 200 billion yuan (about $31.36 billion) to support Japanese financial institutions’ investment in China’s capital market.
“China holds a positive attitude toward establishing RMB clearing bank in Tokyo,” he added.
The Premier also said that China is willing to jointly carry out third-party cooperation with Japan and develop a third-party market.
He also mentioned the necessity of cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and announced that China will send a pair of crested ibis to Japan as an emblem of friendship between the Chinese and Japanese people.
Jointly safeguarding free trade is an important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries during the talks.
“As the world’s major economies and beneficiaries of economic globalization, China and Japan especially should accelerate positive developments in negotiations on the China-Japan-ROK FTA agreement based on free trade, and promote the three parties to reach agreements on regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP) as soon as possible, improving regional economic integration.
“Premier Li’s official visit is a very productive one. A lot of consensus have been reached. These cooperation agreements will not only bring more business opportunities, but also enable the two peoples to understand each other further,” Abe said.
He said that both sides agreed to establish a sea-air contact mechanism to jointly manage the maritime crisis and make the East Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
He also said that the signing of a social security agreement between Japan and China will help promote economic exchanges.
“The two sides reached new consensus on expanding investment cooperation, conducting third-party cooperation, and coproducing films,” he added.
“I hope that the Sino-Japanese relationship will steadily progress and set sail again in an atmosphere of peace, friendliness and cooperation,” Premier Li said.