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Japan, China vow sports cooperation in 1st cultural talks in 9 yrs

  • April 23, 2018
  • , Kyodo News , 7:23 p.m.
  • English Press

Japan and China held their first political dialogue on cultural exchange in nine years on Monday, agreeing to do more in sports and youth exchanges ahead of forthcoming Olympics including one to be hosted by Tokyo in 2020.

 

The talks are part of preparations for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s expected visit to Japan next month amid a thaw in bilateral relations, which in recent years have been strained by territorial and historical grievances.

 

Sports cooperation was agreed in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in the summer of 2020 and the Games to be held in Beijing in the winter of 2022.

 

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the officials also discussed ways to commemorate the 40th anniversary this year of the signing of a bilateral peace and friendship treaty.

 

The talks were led by Manabu Miyagawa, the Foreign Ministry’s director general for cultural affairs, with Xie Jinying, director general of the bureau for external cultural relations in China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

 

“We will advance our exchanges in culture, sports and tourism to deepen the strategic, mutually beneficial relationship between Japan and China,” Miyagawa said at the outset of the talks, open to the press.

 

“We want to make visits at all levels regular, and have many experts participate in cultural exchange,” Xie replied.

 

They agreed to hold the next round of talks in China in 2020, according to the Foreign Ministry.

 

The last round of the talks was held in Beijing in June 2009, before various bilateral dialogue frameworks were put on hiatus amid a chill in ties, driven in part by China’s challenge to the sovereignty of the uninhabited Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

 

Li is set to visit Japan to take part in a long-delayed trilateral summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae In.

 

The Japanese government hopes Li’s trip could prompt a visit to China by Abe and a reciprocal visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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