Japan ready to cooperate with China on global trade plan, Shinzo Abe says

Meeting Asia’s demand for infrastructure through cooperation will contribute greatly to the prosperity of Asian people, Japanese leader says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 10:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 10:07pm

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday expressed his intention to cooperate with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pet cross-border infrastructure development project while stressing the need for open economic activity across Asia.

“I believe Japan will be able to cooperate well with China, which has been putting forward its one belt, one road initiative” in a free and open Indo-Pacific region, Abe said.

The prime minister made the remarks during a reception at a two-day gathering in Tokyo involving Japanese and Chinese business executives.

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Tokyo is looking to improve ties with Beijing as this year marks the 45th anniversary of the normalisation of relations, and next year will mark 40 years since the signing of a bilateral peace and friendship treaty.

Abe hopes to host a trilateral summit involving Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae In before the end of this year.

“Meeting robust infrastructure demand in Asia through cooperation between Japan and China will contribute greatly to the prosperity of Asian people, in addition to the economic development of the two countries,” Abe said.

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At the same time, Abe reiterated the need for wide-ranging transparency measures in China-led infrastructure projects.

The “Belt and Road Initiative”, first touted by Xi in 2013, involves massive investment to connect both a land-based economic belt on the ancient Silk Road route and a maritime corridor spanning from China to Southeast Asia, India, Africa and Europe.

Abe said he hoped Xi would visit Japan “as early as possible”, while expressing his willingness to travel to China first.