China and Japan should push forward bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the next stage as well as in the post-pandemic era, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday during a phone conversation with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Wang said, China and Japan have kept in touch and offered mutual support for anti-epidemic cooperation, demonstrating the traditional friendship between the two neighboring countries.
At present, the pandemic is still raging across the globe, plunging the world economy into a deep recession and adding uncertainties to the international landscape, Wang noted.
China and Japan, as close and important neighbors and major economies in the world, need to maintain their relations in the right direction, and step up cooperation in containing the coronavirus disease, promoting economic recovery and safeguarding regional peace and development, Wang said.
The Chinese foreign minister said that China-Japan ties have generally maintained the momentum of improvement and development, with practical cooperation progressing steadily, citing the hard-won achievement that bilateral trade in the first half of this year was kept at the same level year-on-year.
Wang called on the two countries to make plans for and push forward bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the next stage as well as in the post-pandemic era, so as to jointly tackle various global and regional challenges and inject new vitality into the development of bilateral ties.
First, the two sides should strengthen dialogues and exchanges at all levels and through all channels. They should promote the existing consultation and dialogue mechanisms, encourage proper exchanges and interactions between various sectors, industries and people and localities, and speed up the establishment of a "green channel" for bilateral personnel exchanges, Wang said.
Second, efforts should be made to resume and expand mutually beneficial cooperation. China welcomes Japan to quickly grasp the new situation of and new opportunities in China's development, and actively commit itself to deepening cooperation with China.
Wang said China attaches great importance to the resumption of work and production of Japanese enterprises in China and has adopted a series of supporting measures, adding that it hopes that Japan will also provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory environment for the normal operation of Chinese enterprises in Japan.
Third, the two sides should strengthen communication and cooperation in international and regional affairs, said the Chinese foreign minister.
Both China and Japan are defenders and promoters of multilateralism and free trade, and the two sides should continue firm support for multilateral mechanisms such as the World Trade Organization, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan and South Korea, and the Group of Twenty to play their due roles, Wang noted.
He said the two countries should make efforts to ensure the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) within the year, accelerate negotiations on the China-Japan-South Korea free trade area, and make contributions to regional and global economic recovery.
"We should stick to the general direction of maintaining cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, oppose politicizing the epidemic, reject wrong words and deeds that disrupt and undermine the global fight against COVID-19, and support the World Health Organization in playing its due role," said Wang.
Faced with a complicated international situation, Wang said, the two sides need to carefully and properly handle differences and contradictions in accordance with the important consensus reached by the two leaders, focus mainly on mutually beneficial cooperation, and work jointly to make the China-Japan relations move along the right track further in a stable manner.
Motegi, on his part, said that Japan is willing to work with China to promote active development of bilateral ties. Recently, the two foreign ministers exchanged sympathy messages over floods in both countries, demonstrating their friendship.
Japan is willing to keep dialogue and exchanges with China on various levels, promote actively exchanges of personnel, facilitate cooperation in economy, trade and investment, and support the acceleration of the signing of the RCEP, he said.
The two foreign ministers further exchanged views on other issues of common interest.