Japan and China agreed on Wednesday to commit their political will to cut greenhouse gasses in order to reduce global warming.
After a summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso and his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing, signed a joint statement to strengthen cooperation on 10 environmental measures.
The two nations agreed to join hands with the international community to fight global warming and to create a post-Kyoto Protocol framework from 2013.
Japan and China are to cooperate in reducing air and water pollution, improve waste disposal in China and monitor the levels of toxins remaining in the environment, the statement said.
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol calls for industrial nations such as Japan to reduce greenhouse gas, mainly carbon dioxide, by an average of 5.2 per cent from the 1990 levels.
Although the protocol aims to reach this level by 2012, it was seen as unattainable because major emerging countries such as China and India are not included in the pact.
On other issues, Abe and Wen both expressed hopes that their summit would result in a more forward-looking bilateral relationship.
Abe said he hoped Wen’s visit would be ‘a big step forward toward building strategically and mutually beneficial relations.’
Upon arrival in Tokyo Wednesday, Wen also stressed that his meeting with Abe would help take the bilateral diplomacy to a higher level.
Wen’s visit is the first by a Chinese premier in six and half years.
Wen’s visit, which is seen as an indication of improvement of bilateral ties, is expected to focus on strategic bilateral relationships, as well as cooperation in environment and energy-related issues.
Ahead of his arrival in Tokyo, Wen was quoted as saying that he considered the summit meeting with his Japanese counterpart a ‘true ice-melting trip.’
Abe visited Beijing in October, a month after he took office, in an effort to mend strained ties with China.
Diplomacy between the two nations deteriorated under the former Japanese premier Junichiro Koizumi, whose repeated visits to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine angered Asian nations, especially China and South Korea.
Abe has not visited the shrine, which honours 2.5 million war dead including convicted war criminals. But he remains mum over whether he plans to do so during his premiership.
Abe’s visit to Beijing as prime minister, however, helped resume interaction between leaders of the two nations. During the summit on Wednesday, the Japanese premier was to announce his planned visit to Beijing in the fall.
Japan’s top government spokesman said Wednesday that Tokyo hoped to see both sides reaching out to produce good results in building a mutually beneficial relationship.
‘Prime Minister Abe took a big step forward last October when he decided to visit China to mend relations. We don’t think there is any ‘ice’ left,’ Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said.
The two nations have shown close cooperation in the efforts to denuclearize North Korea and set up a research team to resolve disputes over history.
Earlier Wednesday, China lifted a four-year ban and agreed to resume imports of Japanese rice, expecting the first shipment of 25 tons in early July.
Some issues remain unsolved, however. The two sides are apart in the joint gas exploration project in the East China Sea.
Abe was expected to express concern over the lack of transparency in China’s military buildup.
The Chinese premier was expected to adress the Japanese parliament Thursday morning, meet Emperor Akihito and business and political leaders, as well as joining university students in a game of baseball.
China and Japan celebrate the 35th anniversary of the normalization of their diplomatic relationship this year. Deutsche Presse-Agentur