Chinese foreign minister visits Japan for talks on N Korea, regional issues

Aso comments on official's alleged harassment

The agreement came as Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi makes a rare visit to Tokyo, in a sign of improving cooperation between Asia's two largest economies as they face policy whiplash from the USA over trade and security.

Wang spoke to reporters in Tokyo on Sunday after his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono. The event will discuss The Future of Banking - Evolution, Revolution Or Big Bang by bringing together regulators, banks and disrupters, as digitalisation and innovative business models are affecting the environment in which financial institutions operate.

The visit is also seen as paving the way for a possible trilateral summit next month involving Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korea's Moon.

He finally managed to turn the tide a year ago with a qualified pledge of cooperation on Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature Belt and Road trade and infrastructure initiative.

"We agreed the importance of making it a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship", he said.

The meetings also come after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier pledged to reset the sometimes fraught relationship between Asia's two largest economies. Japanese officials said the mutual foreign ministers' visits for the objective of bilateral talks are the first between Japan and China in eight years.

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But Tokyo is eager to get the relationship back on firmer footing, especially as it fears being shut out of negotiations on North Korea's nuclear programme in which Beijing is likely to be a major player.

China showed its significant influence over its reclusive ally when Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife in Beijing last month.

South Korean President Moon Jae In and US President Donald Trump are preparing for separate direct talks with Mr Kim. Now, China has an added incentive to fix ties with Japan, after a series of surprises from Trump on North Korea, Taiwan and trade sanctions.

On North Korea, Kono said he and Wang "confirmed that we will work in close coordination, while fully implementing the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, to make the complete, irreversible and verifiable abandonment of North Korea's nuclear and missile (programs) a reality".

Abe is set to meet Trump in Florida this week, where he plans to press the president to maintain a hard line on North Korea and seek to persuade him to take a more multilateral approach to trade.

A high-level Japan-China economic dialogue will resume Monday, amid concerns in both countries about the potential for a trade war sparked by the US.

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