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11 May 2018, 01:09 | Marta Robbins
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Analysts say Japan is trying to showcase improved ties and cooperation with China and South Korea so its views will be represented in any negotiations with North Korea.
China, Japan and South Korea agreed on Wednesday to cooperate in seeking the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying recent positive momentum must be matched by "concrete action" by North Korea. The pact provides for meetings between both nations' defence officials and a mechanism for their naval vessels to communicate at sea to avert maritime incidents.
China had also resisted Japan's insistence that the agreement should not cover the territorial waters surrounding the islets, controlled by Japan.
At a summit between Abe and Li on Wednesday, Japan and China agreed to launch a public-private council to consider specific cooperative projects related to Beijing's One Belt, One Road cross-border infrastructure initiative.
China has also promised to grant Japan a 200 billion yuan (US$31.4 billion) investment quota, enabling Japanese institutional investors to buy altogether up to that amount in yuan-denominated stocks and bonds.
Leaders of the three Asian powers, whose ties have been strained by territorial and historical disputes, also touched on economics in the face of US trade pressure on China and Japan.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hoped to use the hosting of the trilateral summit in Tokyo to show that Japan is actively engaged in various moves to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
"We are willing to work with Japan and South Korea to jointly maintain regional stability and push forward the development of the three countries", he said before the meeting started.
Li will meet Japanese Emperor Akihito on Thursday before flying to the northern island of Hokkaido, where he will join a conference with local political leaders.
The South Korean government will decide on its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) within this year, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Paik Un-gyu was quoted as saying on May 9 by Japanese newspapers.
"Cooperation will be good for both China and Japan, as long as it's honest".
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