In a move that many say signals a warming in China-Japan relations, the first visit of a Chinese foreign minister to Japan for the greater part of a decade took place Sunday and Monday. It is the fourth official "Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue" between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono.
Over the two days of the talks, much more than just trade policy has been on the table.
Foreign Minister Kono expressed the hope of the Japanese government that the two countries can work together to address concerns regarding the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Tokyo, Japan, on April 15, 2018.
"We confirm to fully implement all relevant UN resolutions and to cooperate closely in order to establish a complete, irreversible, and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea (DPRK)," Kono stated.
Other relevant regional issues up for discussion at the talks included activity in the East China Sea, where China and Japan are involved in a dispute over uninhabited islets, as well as each country's vision for infrastructure development in the wider Indo-Pacific region.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends the high-level economic dialogue between China and Japan in Tokyo, Japan, on April 16, 2018.
"We advise both sides to have in-depth discussions regarding macroeconomic policies, Sino-Japan economic cooperation and relations, the Belt and Road Initiative, East Asian economic integration, and cooperation with other countries," Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated.
He continued, "Beginning from a new starting point, I hope to achieve our goal of developing our understanding, trust, and cooperation, by deepening our communication on a strategic and practical level."
China's fresh diplomatic overtures were viewed by some observers as the result of Japan's long-standing efforts to effect improved regional relations.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Tokyo, Japan, on April 15, 2018.
The second day of negotiations was focused on trade policy. The two ministers agreed to work to improve bilateral relations in hopes of heading off a looming trade war between China and the United States, which could potentially have strong negative consequences for Japan.
China and Japan seek to undo the 25-percent tariff on steel and 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports that the United States has imposed recently on both countries.
On Sunday, Chinese and Japanese negotiators agreed to join hands in safeguarding the multilateral trade system, and in opposing protectionism.
In what is effectively a push-back against the US tariffs, Chinese and Japanese representatives expressed their support for World Trade Organization principles, a message that will likely reach US President Donald Trump when he meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida on Tuesday.