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Ties with China “one of Japan’s most important ones”: Abe
November 13, 2015, 6:02 am

File photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a meeting at the request of the Japanese side ahead of the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing, China, Nov. 10, 2014 [Xinhua]

File photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a meeting at the request of the Japanese side ahead of the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing, China, Nov. 10, 2014 [Xinhua]

Ahead of the G20 and APEC Summits where he will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wanted to strengthen economic ties with China and South Korea through the realization of a free trade agreement (FTA).

Abe said he hoped Japan and China in unison can spearhead the proposed three-way economic enterprise between the three Asian powerhouses.

At a reception of a meeting of Japanese and Chinese business leaders, Abe said moves towards realizing the three-way free trade deal and the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) should continue to be discussed at a high level between Japan and China.

The China-led RCEP is a 16-nation trade bloc which includes the ASEAN plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

“Japan and China are the third and second largest economies in the world respectively,” the Japanese leader told his audience of both local and Chinese business leaders at the reception held on Thursday.

“Growth of both countries and the strengthening of economic ties has significant meaning to other parts of Asia and the rest of the world,” Abe was quoted by Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

Describing the relationship with China as “one of Japan’s most important ones,” Abe said that the two countries’ bilateral relations are improving overall.

Noting that Japan, China and South Korea together account for 20 per cent of global GDP, Abe said talks to bring the three-way free trade agreement to fruition should be expedited.

The Japanese prime minister heads to Turkey on Friday where he will attend a two-day summit of the Group of 20 major economies from Sunday.

He will also be visiting the Philippines and Malaysia to attend the Nov. 18-19 summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Manila and the Nov. 21-22 ASEAN summits sponsored by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, at the APEC Summit that follows the G20, leaders will take stock of the mammoth China-backed Asia Pacific FTA negotiations launched during last year’s summit in Beijing.

The Beijing-backed roadmap for this ambitious FTA would be studied over the next year.

The FTA, if implemented, will add an estimated $2.4 trillion to the global economy, says a survey by Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).

The survey also said the US-led TPP trade pact, when completed, will add about $223 billion and the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) about $644 billion.

“Although APEC is not a platform for trade negotiation, it clearly has an increasingly important role to play in facilitating the preparatory work and efforts towards materializing an FTAAP,” said Don Campbell, co-chair of PECC.

 

TBP and Agencies

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