TOKYO – The foreign ministers of Japan and China warned on Monday in Tokyo that a trade war would have a severe impact on the global economy.
Taro Kono and Wang Yi said at a press conference, following the first round of an economic dialogue between the two countries in the last eight years, a trade war, irrespective of which country starts it, would severely affect the prosperity of the international community.
During the discussions, the two countries had also agreed to play a responsible role in the development of the global economy, including addressing future problems, according to Kono.
The thaw in relations between the world’s second and third largest economies – which have been strained over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands – comes at a time when both are apprehensive of the fallouts of the trade protectionism policy of the United States.
Beijing has aggressively responded to the imposition of tariffs by the US on steel and aluminum imports, leading to fears of a trade war between the two largest global economies and its consequences on global trade.
The ministers also discussed China’s “One Belt, one Road” initiative, and underlined the possibility of Japan cooperating with China in several projects, according to Kono.
On Monday, Wang also met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who hoped to improve economic cooperation between the two countries and with other countries through free trade, according to a statement by the Japanese foreign ministry.
The two ministers also hoped to hold the bilateral economic summit between the two countries every year.
The Japan-China talks came ahead of two much-anticipated summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in in April, and between Kim and the US president possibly in May.
Kono and Wang, who arrived in Japan on Sunday, had in an earlier meeting in Tokyo reiterated their commitment to improve ties and to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
They had also agreed to mutual visits by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the first since both leaders assumed offices in 2012.