Wang’s visit to rekindle Japan dialogue

Beijing and Tokyo have agreed to end the eight-year stall of their high-level economic dialogue with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi making his first official visit to Japan starting on Sunday.

Since becoming foreign minister in 2013, Wang has yet to pay an official visit to the country in which he once served as China’s ambassador.

During the visit from Sunday to Tuesday, Wang will co-chair the fourth China-Japan High-level Economic Dialogue with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang announced on Wednesday.

Experts said the visit and the dialogue’s resumption mark major progress in improving the countries’bilateral ties, which fell to a record low in 2012, the year Japan unilaterally decided to “nationalize” China’s Diaoyu Islands.

The dialogue, the countries’highest-level bilateral exchange forum in economic affairs, saw its first three rounds in 2007, 2009 and 2010, gathering leading officials from ministries in charge of areas such as commerce, foreign affairs and treasury.

The fourth dialogue will be held in Tokyo on Monday, and “officials in charge of relevant departments under the two governments will attend”, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Wednesday.

Geng said Wang’s official visit serves as a measure to boost high-level exchanges and communication.

The two sides are expected to increase mutual trust, accumulate more consensus, manage and control divergences and consolidate the improving momentum of China-Japan ties, Geng said.

Jiang Ruiping, vice-president of China Foreign Affairs University and an expert on the Japanese economy, said Wang’s visit and the dialogue will make it possible for the two sides to address together a range of key economic issues in bilateral, regional and global contexts.

As the world’s second-and third-largest economies, China and Japan have both the duty and the ability to boost global economic governance, stabilize world trade, currency and investment, and tackle the impulses that frustrate globalization, Jiang said.

Their bilateral trade ended a five-year decline last year as a result of the recovery of global trade and investment as well as the thawing bilateral political ties, Jiang said.