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Better China-Japan ties shot in the arm for regional cooperation

China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-14 07:45
Premier Li Keqiang attends at their trilateral summit with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (not in picture) at Akasaka Palace state guest house in Tokyo, May 9, 2018. [Photo provided to]

Although it is too early to say Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Tokyo last week has brought the estranged relations between China and Japan back onto the right track, Li's visit, the first by a Chinese premier in eight years, was of practical importance in helping the two countries begin to rebuild their long lost mutual trust. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

In his speech marking the 40th anniversary of the China-Japan Peace and Friendship Treaty, Li expressed his anticipation that the two countries will advance their cooperation by taking advantage of the the opportunity presented by the progress that has been made toward resolving the Korean Peninsula situation.

The consensus reached at the summit of the three countries on advancing their economic cooperation paves the way to push forward their long-anticipated trilateral free trade agreement, which will also give a shot in the arm to efforts to promote the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

This is a different tune to that being sung by Washington, which is following a unilateralist score that has been building to a protectionist crescendo.

The potential of the three Asian neighbor's cooperation and collaboration is huge, and it is this that will guarantee the sustainability and vitality of their cooperation.

That the trade with each other only accounts for 20 percent of their foreign trade, and their capacity in cooperation on industries, environmental protection and energy saving, among other things, is yet to be tapped speaks volumes about the prospective benefits that could be realized through a trilateral free trade agreement.

Also, the memorandums of understanding between China and Japan on strengthening their service trade and cooperation in third countries, which is closely related to the Belt and Road Initiative, and their agreements on the building of sea and air liaison mechanisms and restarting negotiations on a currency swap agreement all indicate the two neighbors have made the first strides toward greater economic cooperation.

Now is the time to carry on the momentum and materialize these consensuses.

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