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Japan, China agree to improve military exchanges

Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi (left) and Japanese foreign minister Katsuya Okada

TOKYO (AFP/PTI): The foreign ministers of Japan and China have agreed to advance political and military exchanges in a bid to foster mutual trust, a Japanese diplomat said.

Japan's Katsuya Okada and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi also reiterated their shared resolve to press North Korea to stop its nuclear programmes, to tackle climate change and to boost economic cooperation, he said.

"In particular, Foreign Minister Okada pointed out that exchanges in the security field were necessary," said the diplomat, who attended the talks.

Okada told Yang that continued exchanges of navy vessels and military officers should improve trust between the two countries, the diplomat said, as Tokyo becomes wary of rising Chinese military power.

Okada welcomed a plan by Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie to visit Japan, he said.

The two men also agreed to arrange visits by political leaders, the diplomat said.

"Minister Yang said China was trying to coordinate a visit to Japan by a national leader," he said, although he declined to specify who that might be.

Yang's visit to Japan is widely viewed as a step toward a future visit by Vice President Xi Jinping, who is considered to be a possible successor to President Hu Jintao.

Yang told Okada that China was committed to help Japan host a successful Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, to which China would send "important people", the diplomat said.
Okada and Yang also agreed to tighten cooperation over dealing with North Korea, the Japanese diplomat said.

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