China and Japan should work together to defend multilateralism and the global trading system, a top Chinese diplomat said in Tokyo on Friday as trade tensions with the United States continue to rise. Speaking in a meeting with Shotaro Yachi, Japan’s national security adviser, Yang Jiechi, a member of China’s Politburo, said the two countries “should strengthen coordination and collaboration under the multilateral mechanism and promote fair and reasonable global governance”, according to a Xinhua report. In a separate meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Yang said China hoped for “healthy, stable” ties with its East Asian neighbour. The pair also confirmed that preparations were being made for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Osaka next month for the Group of 20 summit – his first to the country as leader – but agreed a possible state visit by Xi in October had been put on hold due to scheduling difficulties, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported. Yang’s three-day visit to Japan comes amid rising tensions between the US and China, with both sides introducing new tariffs on the other’s goods. US President Donald Trump has also threatened to impose 25 per cent tariffs on US imports of cars and car parts, including those from Japan. Relations between Beijing and Tokyo have warmed since Abe’s visit to China in October, with the two nations seeking rapprochement after years of conflict over a number of issues, including wartime grievances and sovereignty claims in the East China Sea. Japan scrambles fighter jets 999 times as Chinese sorties increase Yang said China and Japan should “push for regional integration and economic globalisation, and protect multilateralism and free trade”. Speaking about Japan’s participation in China’s “ Belt and Road Initiative ”, Yachi said he had “full confidence in the development of Japan-China relations”. “Japan is willing to work with China ... to ensure we achieve a fruitful outcome and send out positive signals,” he said. It was during his visit to Beijing that Abe invited Xi to make a state visit to Japan. But Liu Jiangyong, an international relations professor specialising in Japanese studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said the leaders’ busy schedules made the trip impossible. “In October, China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the nation’s founding and Japan will hold a coronation ceremony for its new emperor,” he said. “Both sides have a lot on their plates.” In the meantime, China needed to focus on finding a resolution to its near year-long trade war with the US, which was likely to be one of the main talking points at the G20 summit, he said.