Japan and China's foreign ministers pledge to pursue improved ties

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The agreement came as Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi makes a rare visit to Tokyo, in a sign of improving cooperation between Asia's two largest economies as they face policy whiplash from the USA over trade and security.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Sunday, said his visit was Beijing's response to Tokyo's positive messages and policies.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is due to face critics in Parliament today after her government joined the United States and France in launching missile strikes against Syrian targets at the weekend.

In his post on Twitter late on Thursday, Trump said the United States was working to make a deal with Japan, "who has hit us hard on trade for years!"The Trump administration again refrained from naming any major trading partners as currency manipulators but kept Japan on its monitoring list in a currency report". Abe has expressed hopes the exchanges will presage a return to regular reciprocal visits between leaders of the two countries.

"We would like to co-operate further towards the common goal between Japan and China, of establishing a complete, irreversible and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea", Kono said as the two began talks in Tokyo.

Kono said he also asked for China's cooperation in resolving the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

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"Since previous year, Japan has, in relations with China, displayed a positive message and friendly attitude", Wang said at the meeting, adding that he hoped that the visit would help the two countries move towards better ties.

Noting that this year marks 40 years since the signing of a bilateral peace and friendship treaty, Kono said he and Wang agreed to work for the improvement of bilateral relations across the board.

Since the Japanese government purchased most of the Senkaku Islands from Japanese owner in 2012, China has frequently sent its ships into Japanese territorial waters around them, raising fears that unintended conflict between Japan and China could be sparked in the area.

But the move could backfire, as U.S. President Donald Trump could demand renegotiating terms for the pact or talks for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) - both outcomes Japan wants to avoid.

Kono met Wang in Beijing in January. He last visited Japan in August 2016 for a trilateral meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts. According to Japanese officials, the dialogue is the first in almost eight years.

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