China, Japan seek to mend ties as Trump trade war looms

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, poses with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a photo prior to their meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Monday, April 16, 2018. China and Japan resumed high-level economic talks Monday after a hiatus of nearly eight years in a sign of improving ties in their often-frosty relationship. (Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, stands with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono during a photo session before the start of the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue in Tokyo Monday, April 16, 2018. China and Japan resumed the high-level economic talks after a hiatus of nearly eight years in a sign of improving ties between the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 economies. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, fifth from left in front row, and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, sixth from left in front row, pose with other officials for a group photo before the start of the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue in Tokyo Monday, April 16, 2018. China and Japan resumed the high-level economic talks after a hiatus of nearly eight years in a sign of improving ties between the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 economies. They are, from left, China's Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua, China's National Development and Reform Commission Vice Minister Zhang Yong, China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, China's Finance Minister Liu Kun, Wang, Kono, Japan's Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, second from left, sits with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, for a meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Monday, April 16, 2018. China and Japan resumed high-level economic talks Monday after a hiatus of nearly eight years in a sign of improving ties in their often-frosty relationship. (Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, arrives with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, center, for the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue in Tokyo Monday, April 16, 2018. China and Japan resumed the high-level economic talks after a hiatus of nearly eight years in a sign of improving ties between the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 economies. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, eighth from left, speaks to his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, eighth from right, during the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue in Tokyo Monday, April 16, 2018. China and Japan resumed the high-level economic talks after a hiatus of nearly eight years in a sign of improving ties between the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 economies. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool Photo via AP)

TOKYO — China and Japan took another step toward mending their troubled relations Monday, resuming high-level economic talks for the first time in nearly eight years.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi led the Chinese delegation, becoming the first foreign minister to visit Japan for bilateral talks since 2009.

Asia's two largest economies have been trying to improve strained ties and now have further reason to cooperate in the face of President Donald Trump's moves to impose tariffs on imports from their countries and his demands that they open their markets more to American exports.

Wang, meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, noted the threats of rising unilateralism and trade protectionism.

Abe heads to the United States on Tuesday to meet with Trump to discuss both trade and Trump's plans for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Japan's leader said that he is seeking China's cooperation in efforts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons development in a full and irreversible way.

Earlier Monday, Japan and China held what was billed as the fourth Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue, the first such meeting since August 2010.

Wang met with his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, for nearly four hours on Sunday, Japan's Foreign Ministry said. The two ministers agreed on the importance of arranging respective visits by Abe to China and Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan.

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