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China's Xi, Japan's Kishida meet amid regional tensions

November 17, 2022

This was the first face-to-face meeting between Chinese and Japanese leaders in three years. The pair discussed security issues involving North Korean missile tests and Chinese drills around Taiwan.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping in front of Chinese and Japanese flags at APEC
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the APEC summit in ThailandImage: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on Thursday on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bangkok, Thailand, and discussed Asia-Pacific security.

This was the first face-to-face meeting between Chinese and Japanese leaders in three years, and Kishida's first in-person meeting with Xi since taking office in 2021.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to media in front of Thai and Japanese flags
Kishida spoke to reporters in Bangkok following his meeting with XiImage: Masanori Genko/AP/picture alliance

Japan voices 'serious concerns'

In his talks with Xi, Kishida voiced "serious concerns" on regional security issues, including North Korea's ballistic missile launches.

"On North Korea, I expressed our expectations that China will play a role including in the UN security council," Kishida told reporters following the talks.

North Korea has engaged in multiple ballistic missile tests this year, including a launch that occurred during the APEC talks, as well as one that led to a projectile flying over Japan early last month. In May, China and Russia vetoed a US-led bid to impose further sanctions on North Korea over its missile tests.

Kishida said that he also raised concerns over "China's military activities including ballistic missile launches from China." In August, China fired missiles during military drills around Taiwan that are believed to have fallen within Japan's exclusive economic zone.

He also spoke to Xi about "the situation in the East China Sea, including the Senkaku Islands," referring to a group of Japanese-administered islands that is disputed by China.

"I stressed the importance of peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait," Kishida said.

The two countries "agreed on strengthening communication in the field of security," the Japanese premier added.

Kishida also "reiterated Japan's position on human rights and detention of Japanese citizens in China" in his talks with Xi.

Xi warns against 'confrontation'

Xi said that the two sides should resist conflict and confrontation, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.

"On the issue of maritime and territorial disputes, we should show... commitment to properly manage differences," Xi said.

In written remarks to the APEC summit, Xi insisted that the "Asia Pacific is no-one's backyard and should not become an arena for big power contest."

"No attempt to wage a new Cold War will ever be allowed by the people or by our times," he said.

"Unilateralism and protectionism should be rejected by all; any attempt to politicise and weaponise economic and trade relations should also be rejected by all," Xi said, urging countries to follow a path of "openness" and "inclusiveness".

sdi/fb (AFP, Reuters)

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