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Japan, China confirm trade protectionism benefits no nation

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso, far right, holds talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, far left, in Beijing on Aug. 30, 2018. (Pool photo, Kyodo)

BEIJING (Kyodo -- Japan and China have voiced agreement that trade protectionism will not benefit any country, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said Thursday, warning against U.S. President Donald Trump's implementation of higher tariffs against other nations.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with Chinese vice premiers Liu He and Han Zheng in Beijing, Aso also said that the two countries acknowledge the importance of bolstering financial cooperation, amid growing fears that an intensifying U.S.-China trade war would hurt the global economy.

Aso, who is visiting Beijing ahead of a planned visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to China in October, said Tokyo and Beijing are making efforts to "achieve tangible results" for an envisioned summit between Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In May, Japan and China agreed to resume their currency swap line in times of financial emergency, while Beijing promised to grant Tokyo a 200 billion yuan (about $29 billion) investment quota in yuan-denominated stocks and bonds.

On Friday, Aso is scheduled to hold a meeting with Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun during which they are expected to exchange views on how to promote financial cooperation between their two nations.

Officials from the finance ministries and central banks of the two neighbors will join the dialogue, which was last held in May 2017 in Yokohama. Those from financial services agencies will also participate in it for the first time.

In recent years, Sino-Japanese ties had been mired in a territorial row over the Senkaku Islands, called Diaoyu in China. Tensions escalated especially after the Japanese government effectively put them under state control in September 2012.

Bilateral relations, however, have been improving, with both sides reflecting positively on the 40th anniversary this year of the signing of the friendship treaty between the two countries.

On the back of the improvement in ties, Japanese senior politicians have been visiting China.

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, arrived in Beijing on Wednesday and met with Chinese officials the following day. The LDP's No. 2 figure is set to hold talks with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan on Friday.

Education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi attended a trilateral meeting with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts, held in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin, on Thursday.

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