Japan foreign minister hopes for improved ties with China

Japan foreign minister hopes for improved ties with China
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, shakes hands with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)

BEIJING (AP) — Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono expressed hopes for improved relations with China during talks Sunday in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Japan is making efforts to further a gradual thaw in relations dogged by history and a territorial dispute.

Concerns about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program also featured prominently in the discussions. Japan has pushed for stricter measures against the North, which fired a ballistic missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido in August.

“Not only do we need to manage our bilateral relations, but we also need to work together to deal with issues facing the entire globe, in particular the issue of North Korea, which is the matter at hand for international society as a whole,” Kono said.

Kono was also expected to discuss possible arrangements for a trilateral summit this spring in Tokyo between leaders from China, South Korea and Japan.

Following the talks, Kono is due to meet with senior foreign policy adviser State Councilor Yang Jiechi, and visit top leaders, possibly including President Xi Jinping.