Press Conference by Prime Minister Kishida Regarding the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting and the Japan-China Summit Meeting

November 16, 2023

[Provisional translation]


(On the Japan-U.S. summit meeting and the Japan-China summit meeting)

First of all, we held a summit meeting between Japan and the United States for 15 minutes just a short while ago, beginning at 5:15 PM. During this meeting with President Biden, through our discussions on a variety of issues such as the situation in the Middle East, the Ukraine situation, and the situation in the Indo-Pacific region, including China and North Korea, we had a frank exchange of views in the context of Japan-U.S. cooperation being more necessary than ever. President Biden also invited me to make an official visit early next year. I consider it to have been a highly significant meeting in which we confirmed that we will further reinforce our cooperation.

Following that, for roughly 65 minutes beginning at 5:40 PM, I had a Japan-China summit meeting with President Xi Jinping. This was my first time to hold a meeting with President Xi since November last year, and I feel we once again succeeded in having frank and constructive discussions from a broad perspective.

While the potential exists for various kinds of cooperation between Japan and China, there also exist outstanding concerns and issues. This year, the 45th anniversary of concluding the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, President Xi and I confirmed a general direction of building a constructive and stable relationship between Japan and China. We also reaffirmed that we will comprehensively promote a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests. Moreover, we agreed to continue to engage in close communication at all levels, including at the summit level.

As for the release of ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) treated water into the ocean, I called strongly for a level-headed response based on scientific evidence as well as the immediate abolishment of import restrictions placed by China on Japanese food products. We concurred on Japan and China taking a constructive attitude and finding ways to resolve issues through consultation and dialogue. From now, we will hold discussions grounded in science at the expert level.

I reiterated my serious concerns regarding the situation in the East China Sea, including the situation surrounding the Senkaku Islands, and called for the immediate removal of the buoy erected in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). I also expressed Japan’s serious concerns over the increase in Chinese military activities in the area around Japan, including activities in collaboration with Russia, and I placed particular emphasis on the fact that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are of extreme importance to the international community, including Japan.

With regard to the case of Japanese nationals being detained in China, I once again called for the early release of the Japanese nationals. At the same time, we also agreed to bolster our communication in the area of security. In addition, we discussed a wide range of matters that included bilateral cooperation, namely the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue and a Japan-China dialogue on export controls; a cooperative relationship on global issues; interpersonal exchanges; and regional issues. I will have the officials in charge explain the details.

As neighbors sharing a history from time immemorial and a future stretching to eternity, Japan and China have a responsibility to coexist and prosper together; moreover, as major powers leading the region and the international community, we share a duty to contribute to global peace and stability.

Today, having succeeded in confirming a broad direction in working towards our common objective of a constructive and stable Japan-China relationship, we had an extremely meaningful meeting indeed. We fully concurred on the leaders of our two countries continuing to engage in close talks and close communication into the future.

(On whether or not a new Japan-China framework will be created at the expert level as a step towards lifting the embargo on Japanese marine products)

Although I believe the specifics will be hammered out in the future, to facilitate communication between Japan and China, Japan will also lay out concrete proposals and then work together with the Chinese side in advancing efforts to give those proposals concrete shape.

(On whether or not Prime Minister Kishida regarded this as a move towards lifting the embargo)

First of all, I believe that it is important for Japan and China to engage in communication with each other. Naturally, Japan will continue to provide explanations from a scientific point of view while maintaining a high degree of transparency, but in any event, I believe that it is only through communication between our two countries that concrete efforts will make progress. Today, we had talks on both our countries making efforts towards that end.

(On what Prime Minister Kishida felt upon having had discussions with President Xi Jinping for the first time in a year)

During this meeting, President Xi again explained his thinking in a level-headed manner. I feel that our exchange was highly meaningful in deepening the understanding between the leaders of our two countries.

(On the significance of the leaders reconfirming their intention to foster a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests)

Japan and China agreed on the comprehensive promotion of a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests in the Japan-China Joint Statement of 2008. Our countries’ fundamental approach is that this has been upheld consistently since the issuance of this joint statement right up to the present day.

Looking at why this is happening at this timing, last year Japan and China commemorated the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China relations, and this year we mark the 45th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between our two countries.

As we commemorate these milestones, the leaders of both nations have together looked back on the progress made until now in our bilateral relations and looked ahead to our prospects going forward. In that context, I believe it was very meaningful for us to reconfirm that we will comprehensively promote this mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests.

(On a breakthrough towards the early resolution of China’s embargo)

Particularly because we are working towards an early resolution, concrete efforts will not make any progress unless we are first engaged in communication. In light of that, I believe it was quite meaningful for the leaders of our two countries to have had discussions in which, regarding these issues, we once again exchanged views, confirmed the importance of communication, and worked to advance our efforts. I very much want both of our countries to make efforts from now so that we attain a good outcome.

(On Prime Minister Kishida’s own sense of accomplishment regarding the Japan-China summit meeting)

Our talks continued for 65 minutes with simultaneous interpretation, so I believe our meeting was quite substantial in terms of both content and volume. As for the content, we first of all confirmed our general direction of aiming at sustainable and stable Japan-China relations. And, as a step towards achieving that objective, we concurred to put that approach into practice by undertaking various cases in concrete terms, which will be built up over time. Looking back on our meeting as a whole, I feel a certain sense of accomplishment.

(On President Xi Jinping’s reaction and response towards Prime Minister Kishida’s calls for the immediate removal of the buoy installed within Japan’s EEZ and the early release of Japanese nationals)

Naturally, I have to refrain from making any specific statements about what my counterpart said during a meeting such as this one. I made proposals from my side regarding the matters you pointed out, among others, and then we discussed them. That was how the meeting proceeded. For issues such as the ones you mentioned as well, I intend to continue to engage in communication and work on how those issues are treated in each of our countries.

(On whether or not a path forward could be seen towards the resolution of the detaining of Japanese nationals and, in advancing Japan-China relations, how to gain the understanding of the public and how to appeal for such understanding)

I consider communication to be imperative precisely because we are working to resolve various issues, including the issue you mentioned. And, in particular, I feel the importance of having discussions in concrete terms between the top leaders of our countries regarding these issues. Today, we had direct discussions between the top leaders of our two nations for the first time in roughly a year, including about the issue you mentioned. I believe that continuing our efforts to sustainably and stably maintain our bilateral relations by having these kinds of discussions repeatedly over time will most certainly be in our national interest, as well as in the interest of the public. Accordingly, I will continue to make efforts towards that end.


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