Japan, China foreign ministers meet for 1st time amid strained ties

The foreign ministers of Japan and China met for the first time Saturday in the South Korean port city of Busan to discuss ways to stabilize the countries' strained ties, with Japan's top diplomat seeking to lift Beijing's total ban on seafood imports from Japan.

The talks between Yoko Kamikawa, who became Japanese foreign minister in September, and Wang Yi follow a meeting of the countries' leaders in San Francisco last week, with the two sides trading barbs over the ocean discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

At the summit, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to hold expert consultations on the water release and build "mutually beneficial" relations based on common strategic interests.

Wang called for independent monitoring of the wastewater discharge in his talks earlier this week in Beijing with Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Komeito, the junior partner in Japan's ruling coalition. The water release that began in late August prompted Beijing to impose the seafood import ban.

Kamikawa and Wang met ahead of talks in Busan on Sunday with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, in what will be the first trilateral meeting of the countries' foreign ministers since 2019.

In her talks with Wang, Kamikawa is also expected to seek the early release of Japanese nationals detained in China for alleged espionage, as well as the removal of a buoy installed by Beijing within Japan's exclusive economic zone near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

China, which claims the islands and calls them Diaoyu, repeatedly sends ships into Japanese waters around the Senkakus.

© Kyodo News