China, Japan ink 24 deals on energy cooperation | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

11 December, Tuesday


China, Japan ink 24 deals on energy cooperation

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China and Japan have signed dozens of cooperation agreements in different fields during an event in the capital, Beijing, raising speculations that a deepening trade dispute between the US and Tokyo is pushing Asia’s third-biggest economy toward China.

Officials from the two sides inked cooperation agreements for 24 projects in areas including, energy conservation, new energy development, and pollution control, Xinhua reported.

Smart city development and ways to tackle climate change were also among the areas of cooperation that were agreed upon.

The agreements were signed during a forum on bilateral cooperation in energy conservation and environmental protection.

According to head of the National Development and Reform Commission He Lifeng, the event — first held in 2006 — has played a crucial role in advancing economic and technological exchanges and pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.

He said that Beijing welcomed foreign companies, including Japanese firms, to invest and do business in China.

Japan and China, which have for several years been locked in a territorial dispute over a small group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, have been seeing a thaw in relations since Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe paid a rare three-day visit to China last month.

Abe, who became the first premier visiting China since December 2011, was accompanied by delegates from 500 Japanese companies, including giant carmakers like Toyota, which hope to see normalized ties with China.

The Japanese premier said at the time that relations with China were at an “historic turning point” and that he expected new possibilities in areas such as infrastructure, logistics, healthcare, and finance.

The thaw in relations coincides with a deepening trade dispute initiated by the US against China, with both imposing reciprocal tariffs on each other’s products.

In September, the US slapped tariffs on Chinese goods worth 200 billion dollars. China retaliated by imposing tariffs on 80 billion dollars’ worth of American goods.

The trade dispute has also concerned Tokyo — a key US ally — which may be the next target of America’s trade war.

US President Donald Trump, who has already complained about a “very high deficit” with Japan, said back in September that he has “good relations” with the Japanese leadership but, “Of course that will end as soon as I tell them how much they have to pay,” apparently referring to the trade deficit.

Some observers have speculated that Japan may bolster political and economic ties with China amid US pressure on Tokyo.

However, according to the English-language news website The Japan Times, Japanese government sources have rejected that idea, saying that even though Japan and the US are divided over trade issues, the alliance between them would continue to be the “cornerstone” of Japan’s diplomacy and security.

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