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Japan, China foreign ministers vow to improve ties

The foreign ministers of Japan and China vowed Saturday in Busan that they will work together to improve the two countries’ strained ties based on an agreement between their leaders last week in San Francisco to build “mutually beneficial” relations.

At the start of their first meeting in the South Korean port city, Yoko Kamikawa, who became Japanese foreign minister in September, told China’s top diplomat Wang Yi she is ready to “closely cooperate” with him, guided by the directives from Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Combined photo shows China’s top diplomat Wang Yi (L) and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa. (Kyodo)

Wang also expressed readiness to work with Japan toward putting bilateral relations back to “the sound and correct path.” Their opening remarks were made in the presence of reporters.

Kamikawa and Wang met ahead of talks in Busan on Sunday with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, in what will be the first trilateral meeting of the countries’ foreign ministers since 2019.

In her talks with Wang, Kamikawa was believed to have sought an end to China’s ban on seafood imports from Japan imposed over the ocean discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that began in late August.

Wang called for independent monitoring of the wastewater discharge in his talks earlier this week in Beijing with Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Komeito, the junior partner in Japan’s ruling coalition. The water release prompted Beijing to impose the seafood import ban.

Kamikawa was also believed to have called for the early release of Japanese nationals detained in China for alleged espionage, as well as the removal of a buoy installed by Beijing within Japan’s exclusive economic zone near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

China, which claims the islands and calls them Diaoyu, repeatedly sends ships into Japanese waters around the Senkakus.

Related coverage:

China calls for independent monitoring of treated Fukushima water

Head of Japan’s Komeito party meets senior China official, seeks end of seafood ban

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