Japan, China leaders agree to maintain close contact at all levels

The leaders of Japan and China have reconfirmed their stance of promoting mutually beneficial strategic relations and maintaining close communication for a new era of bilateral ties.

Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for about one hour in San Francisco on Thursday. The face-to-face talks were their first since last November.

Xi said peaceful coexistence, friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development are the right direction in line with the interests of the peoples of China and Japan. He said both countries should understand the general trend of history and the times to appropriately manage differences in opinion.

Kishida said the international community faces a historic turning point in which partnership and discord are complexly entwined. He said Japan and China have responsibilities to contribute to global peace and prosperity as leaders of the region and the international community.

The two leaders reconfirmed the importance of maintaining the principles of four political documents that the two countries have exchanged.

Kishida and Xi agreed that the two countries will maintain close communication at all levels, including that of leadership, to build constructive and stable bilateral relations.

Kishida called for ensuring an environment to guarantee legitimate business activities. The leaders agreed to hold high-level economic talks at an appropriate time on the green economy, medical care and caregiving.

The leaders also agreed that the two countries will act responsibly on global issues such as climate change, and hold high-level personal and cultural exchange dialogue at an early date.

Kishida noted the importance of maintaining contact in the security field, and welcomed the launch in May this year of a hotline under a communication mechanism between the Japan-China defense authorities.

Kishida conveyed Japan's concern over China's maritime activities in the East China Sea, including areas near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

He called for immediate removal of a buoy set up in Japan's exclusive economic zone near the islands. Japan controls the islands. The Japanese government maintains they are an inherent part of Japan's territory. China and Taiwan claim them.

Kishida also expressed Japan's concern over increasing Chinese military activities near the country, including those conducted in coordination with Russia.

He stressed that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are extremely important for the international community. He also said Japan's stance on Taiwan is as stated in the 1972 Japan-China joint communique.

Kishida also asked for the release of Japanese nationals detained in China over alleged spying activities.

The prime minister asked that China promptly resume Japanese seafood imports. China suspended the imports after Japan started releasing treated and diluted water into the ocean from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The two leaders reportedly agreed to find a way to resolve the matter through dialogue with a constructive attitude, while recognizing a gap between the countries' positions.

Water used to cool molten fuel at the plant has been mixing with rain and groundwater. The accumulated water is being treated to remove most radioactive substances, but still contains tritium.

Before releasing the water into the ocean, the plant's operator dilutes it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization's guidance level for drinking water.

Kishida and Xi also exchanged views on international situations such as those in North Korea, the Middle East and Ukraine. The leaders confirmed they will closely communicate with each other on the matters.