Asia - Pacific

Stable relations with China important: Japanese premier

Showing willingness for possible summit with Chinese president, Fumio Kishida says 'dialogue matters'

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 21.06.2022
Stable relations with China important: Japanese premier


Vowing to maintain "stable relations" with Beijing, Japan's prime minister on Tuesday indicated willingness for a possible summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"Maintaining stable and constructive relations with China are important not only for each other but also for the peace and stability of the region and the international community," Fumio Kishida told a policy debate of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Tokyo.

Referring to a possible meeting with Chinese President Xi, Kishida stressed: "Dialogue matters."

After taking over the reins last year, Kishida spoke to the Chinese president in October amid bumpy relations between the world's top second and third economies.

Japan is part of the so-called Quad, a loose security alliance led by the US in the wider Asia-Pacific region to counter China's expanding economic and military influence.

Pointing to South Korea, the Japanese premier said Tokyo and Seoul could not move forward "unless they see progress in resolving issues such as compensation demands from South Koreans for their labor rendered under Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula," Kyodo News reported.

Bilateral ties between the two Asian nations, both of which are US allies, have nosedived due to issues stemming from Japan's colonial rule over the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

Seoul has demanded restitution from Tokyo for what it refers to as "wartime forced labor." Tokyo considers the issue to have been resolved in the past.

However, amid the changing geopolitics in the region, Kishida said early in April that "strategic cooperation" between Tokyo and Seoul "is needed more than ever."

"Given that the rules-based international order is threatened, strategic cooperation between Japan and South Korea, as well as Japan, the US, and South Korea are needed more than ever," Kishida had told a South Korean delegation sent by President Yoon Suk Yeol.

Touching on the much-talked-about reforms at the UN, Kishida pledged to "take the lead in reforming the UN Security Council whose dysfunction was exposed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

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