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China FM in Japan to Discuss Concerns  11/24 06:19


   TOKYO (AP) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Japanese 
counterpart in Tokyo on Tuesday to discuss ways to revive their pandemic-hit 
economies as well as regional concerns over China's growing influence.

   Wang and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi were expected to 
discuss resuming business trips between the world's No. 2 and No. 3 economies 
through a "business track" program that would allow visitors to engage in 
limited business activity during 14-day quarantine periods. Japan recently 
launched such arrangements with a few less-infected Asian countries.

   Wang's visit comes as Japan is grappling with a resurgence of coronavirus 
infections and the government struggles to balance disease prevention and the 

   Chinese visitors topped the number of tourists in Japan before the pandemic.

   Wang is to meet with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday, the first 
meeting with a Japanese leader by a top Chinese official since the February 
visit of Chinese foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi.

   Japan and China say they are not currently considering rescheduling Chinese 
President Xi Jinping's state visit to Japan, postponed from the spring due to 
the pandemic.

   Relations between the two countries have been strained over territorial 
disputes and wartime history. But ties have improved in recent years while 
China's trade dispute with the U.S. has escalated. Japan, a key U.S. ally, sees 
China as a crucial trading partner and faces the challenge of balancing its 
relations with both nations.

   The visit also comes amid growing concerns about China's increasing 
influence in the region.

   Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison held talks last week with Suga and 
agreed to step up their military partnership to promote peace and stability in 
the Indo-Pacific region as a counter to China's rise.

   Japan and Australia, along with the U.S. and India, are also trying to bring 
in Southeast Asian nations and others to join their cooperation. Beijing has 
criticized the moves.

   After his visit to Japan, Wang will head for meetings in South Korea.

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