BEIJING (Kyodo) -- The Japan Business Federation and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi agreed Thursday the two countries should expand economic ties despite damage in Japan from the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
China "is convinced that Japan will overcome (damage) from the quake and tsunami and a nuclear accident" sparked by the disaster, Yang was quoted as telling a delegation of the business lobby known as Nippon Keidanren during a meeting in Beijing.
"It is important that the two countries will not stagnate exchanges," Yang was quoted as saying by a Keidanren official.
In a separate meeting, senior Communist Party of China official Li Yuanchao told the Keidanren delegation that China "truly hopes for Japan's economic recovery because the two countries have strong economic interdependence," the Keidanren official said.
Li, head of the party's Organization Department, was quoted as saying an automobile plant and electronic factory he inspected recently reported difficulty in parts procurement apparently due to suspension of production of auto parts and electronic components in affected areas in northeastern Japan.
China perceives Japan as a key partner in developing new energy, emission-free energy and a "green" economy as Beijing's 2011-2015 development plan calls for higher energy efficiency and an environmentally friendly development pattern in pursuit of stable economic growth, Li was quoted as saying.
In the talks with Yang, Keidanren Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura, who leads the delegation, asked that China ease what Japan sees as excessively strict customs procedures on Japanese products because of doubts about the safety of Japanese farm produce and other products in light of continuing radioactive leaks from a damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
Yang responded that Beijing "pays close attention to (Yonekura's) point and will respond to (the request) positively," according to the official.
The Keidanren delegation, on a three-day visit to Beijing through Friday, called for speeding up work among Japan, China and South Korea toward the signing of a trilateral free trade agreement, the official added.
Yang was quoted as saying that it is "unnatural" that the three countries do not have an FTA given the size of their economies.
(Mainichi Japan) May 13, 2011