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13:50 8 March 2016

China's top diplomat blames Japan for slow improvement in ties

BEIJING, March 8, Kyodo

China's foreign minister said Tuesday that Sino-Japanese relations still lack substantive improvement and that is mainly because of Japanese political leaders' attitude toward Beijing.

"We want to truly improve" the relationship but there has been an underlying problem that "some Japanese politicians have wrong perceptions of China," Wang Yi told a press conference in Beijing on the fringes of this year's session of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.

He accused the Japanese government of saying "all nice things while at the same time making trouble" with China, describing it as Tokyo's typical "double-dealing."

Wang's remarks come as relations between the Asian powers are markedly better than several years ago but not making much headway toward a sustained improvement.

The reconciliation drive has been at a standstill in recent months largely because China is irritated by Japan's stepped-up efforts with the United States in trying to keep its territorial ambitions in check in the South China Sea, according to diplomats.

China, which claims virtually the entire sea, has been building islands at a fast pace and already setting up military facilities on some of them, despite repeated calls from not only the two countries but also from many others in the region to refrain from unilaterally changing the status quo in the contested waters.

China has criticized Japan and the United States, calling them outsiders, for interfering in its territorial disputes in the South China Sea with smaller Asian claimants, including the Philippines and Vietnam.

While speaking about a range of regional affairs, Wang also said China will fully implement a set of tougher sanctions against North Korea endorsed last week by the U.N. Security Council.

Wang, however, cautioned that a U.N. resolution adopted to make it possible to impose the sanctions supports the resumption of the long-stalled six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions and urged all sides to avoid taking any action that may escalate tensions.

The foreign minister proposed again that the denuclearization of North Korea should be sought in parallel with negotiations on a permanent peace treaty to replace the armistice that stopped fighting in, but technically did not end, the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Wang said China is "open to any format" of talks to address the nuclear issue if the six countries -- China, the two Koreas, Japan, Russia and the United States -- cannot all sit together in the immediate future.

He also said China continues to cherish its "traditional bonds" with North Korea, but what needs to be made clear is that Beijing has an unwavering commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and will "not accommodate (Pyongyang's) nuclear and missile programs."

==Kyodo

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang attends press conference
  • China's Foreign Minister Wang attends press conference
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