China and Japan conclude talks as Tokyo seeks a lead role in future North Korea negotiations

China and Japan conclude talks as Tokyo seeks a lead role in future North Korea negotiations

Senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi is expected to conclude a three-day visit to Japan today. Mr Jiechi met with National

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Photo: Reuters

Senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi is expected to conclude a three-day visit to Japan today.

Mr Jiechi met with National Security Adviser Shotaro Yachi on Wednesday for talks canvassing the ongoing dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, as well as recent Chinese import restrictions on Japanese foodstuffs. Discussions on the G20 Summit in Osaka in late June will also top the agenda; Japan’s Shinzo Abe will host a private meeting with China’s Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the June 28-29 summit.

Abe and Xi may well seek to reach an agreement on how to progress in the currently stalled state of negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program. There is a possibility the two leaders will have a serious discussion of resuming the so-called “Six-party talks”, which were discontinued in 2009. Both China and Japan have motivation to resume these discussions. China, being Pyongyang’s long-standing ally, sees North Korea’s survival potentially at risk if unilateral action is taken by a country like the United States to dismantle a potential nuclear program by force. Japan sees the talks as a way of finally resolving the long-standing diplomatic issue between Japan and North Korea over the abduction of some of its citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.

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