In a significant development, Japanese and Chinese trade ministers have come to an agreement to establish a framework for discussions on export controls, signaling a renewed commitment to economic cooperation following a period of strained relations between the two neighboring nations.
Japanese Trade Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura expressed optimism about the potential of these talks to stabilize relations, stating, "We will engage in substantive discussions with Chinese officials to foster constructive and stable Japan-China relations." These discussions are expected to be conducted by officials at the director-general and section chief levels, who are responsible for export controls, as reported by the Yomiuri newspaper.
China's recent imposition of export restrictions on materials such as gallium, a key component in chip manufacturing, and its upcoming plans to limit the export of graphite used in batteries have prompted these discussions. The primary aim is to prevent any further escalation of retaliatory trade disputes with China, as reported by the Yomiuri.
Prior to attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in San Francisco, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida addressed reporters and emphasized the importance of maintaining stable and constructive relations with China. He noted that no decision had been made regarding a meeting with China's leader, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the APEC meeting but reiterated their commitment to communication in various forms.
Relations between China and Japan, historically characterized by occasional turbulence, have been particularly strained in recent months. Japan's decision to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean in August drew strong objections from China. Furthermore, China's formal arrest of a Japanese executive, an employee of the Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma, on suspicion of espionage last month has had a chilling effect on business activities, according to Japanese officials.
The establishment of a framework for trade discussions represents a step towards repairing relations and promoting economic cooperation between these two influential Asian nations. The international community will be closely monitoring the outcomes of these talks in the hopes of witnessing a positive turn in Japan-China relations.