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China, Japan agree to push for Korean denuclearization

By Elizabeth Shim
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) clap during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Friday. Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA-EFE
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) clap during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Friday. Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA-EFE

Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Leaders of China and Japan hailed bilateral ties Friday and confirmed a partnership of "mutual cooperation" while taking a united front on the issue of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

In meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the two countries were "neighbors" and reassurances were exchanged neither side would pose a threat, Kyodo News reported.

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Beijing and Tokyo also share a common goal on North Korea, Abe said.

"Japan and China have a great responsibility for the [Northeast Asian] region's peace and stability," Abe said. "We agreed to cooperate closely to fulfill responsibilities to achieve the common goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

RELATED South, North Korea to withdraw guard posts, reduce military tension

The Japanese leader also said he plans to normalize relations with North Korea.

"Working with the international community, we will normalize relations with North Korea after resolving the issue of North Korea abductions, nuclear weapons and missiles and settling the unfortunate past," Abe said.

Abe also called for a "new era" of Japan-China relations that included a vision of a new model of economic cooperation.

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The summit comes at a time when both countries face trade issues with the United States, China and Japan's biggest trading partner.

NHK reported Beijing and Tokyo on Friday signed a currency swap arrangement of nearly $30 billion, an amount that is 10 times greater than the previous arrangement.

The currency swap is in effect until Oct. 25, 2021, and will allow the central banks of the two countries to supply local currencies for corporations. Japanese companies based in China can turn to the Bank of Japan if their reserves of the Chinese yuan are insufficient.

RELATED Japan finance ministry calls for $9B military spending cut

An offshore yuan market will also be established in Japan, according to the agreement.

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