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New Chinese envoy supports Japan-North Korea talks

Beijing, May 10 (Jiji Press) — New Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou expressed Friday his support for direct talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang.

The comments by Kong, currently Chinese vice foreign minister, came after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently expressed his readiness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without conditions.

Speaking to Japanese reporters in Beijing in Japanese, Kong said he hopes that Japan and North Korea will address each other’s concerns and set the stage for diplomatic normalization through discussions.

Kong, China’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, said he hopes that by doing so, “Japan will play a constructive role in resolving issues on the peninsula politically.”

He said he will work to help Japan and China deepen understanding and trust of each other to expand their cooperation.

“We are both standing at a new starting line,” Kong said, noting that this year is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the first year of the new Imperial era for Japan.

Security remains a weak part of bilateral relations, Kong said, apparently referring to a dispute over the Senkaku island chain in the East China Sea administered by Japan but also claimed by China.

Japan and China need to craft policies while recognizing that they are not threats to each other, Kong said.

Kong will assume his duties as Chinese ambassador to Japan as early as late this month to replace Cheng Yonghua, who has been in the Japan post for as long as over nine years.

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