Japan, China hold high level talks on North Korea

Tokyo, Feb 29 (IANS) Top diplomats from Japan and China met in Tokyo on Monday to discuss possible responses to North Korea in the wake of the recent nuclear and missile tests carried out by Pyongyang.

Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama met his Chinese counterpart Xuanyou Kong, marking the first high level diplomatic talks between the two countries since the Pyongyang regime carried out a nuclear test on January 6 and the following month launched a satellite aboard a rocket, EFE news reported.

The meeting also comes after China and the US, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, agreed last week to draft tougher sanctions to punish North Korea for these actions.

At the meeting, which comes shortly after Tokyo highlighted the impossibility of discussing over telephone with Beijing the recent arms tests carried out by North Korea, the two Deputy Foreign Ministers were also scheduled to address other regional issues.

Kong had earlier said that China wants to hold a high level meeting with Japan to improve ties between the two countries, distanced by regional tensions.

Relations between the two major powers in East Asia remain tensed because of the dispute surrounding the sovereignty of the Senkaku (Diaoyu in Chinese) Islands.

Ties further deteriorated in recent weeks after Tokyo criticised Beijing’s recent deployment of surface-to-air missile on an island in the South China Sea whose ownership is claimed by Vietnam.

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