The leaders of China and South Korea agreed yesterday to bolster efforts to aid Japan’s disaster recovery as they met with the Japanese prime minister to smooth over differences on Tokyo’s handling of its post-tsunami nuclear crisis.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan hosted Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in yesterday’s summit. Japan hoped the meeting would present a unified front after Beijing and Seoul criticized its response to the nuclear crisis, and that it would lead to an easing of restrictions on the export of Japanese produce.
On Saturday, the three leaders met in Fukushima to demonstrate their joint desire for Japan’s recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that left more than 24,000 people dead or missing and sparked an ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
Photo: EPA/Yonhap News Agency
Kan led a moment of silence for the victims, then thanked China and South Korea for their assistance.
“We are deeply grateful for the great help and assistance provided by China and South Korea,” he said.
Japan has been particularly concerned that excessive fears over the contamination of Japanese produce have led to unnecessary trade restrictions. China and South Korea had both expressed fears over Japanese imports, and criticized Japan for allowing the release of water with high radiation levels into the ocean.
In a statement after yesterday’s meeting, the leaders agreed that safety measures should be based on informed policy and overreaction should be avoided.
Wen and Lee also agreed to bolster efforts to help Japan with its overall recovery.
Kan and Wen held a bilateral meeting ahead of the three-way summit, focusing on ways to boost tie-ups in disaster prevention, nuclear safety and Japan’s recovery following the disaster.
Wen told Kan that Beijing will lift trade bans on food imports from two of the 12 Japanese prefectures, on which China has imposed trade restrictions, while not requiring radiation inspections on products other than vegetables, seafood and milk products, a Japanese official said.
Wen also promised Kan that Beijing would encourage Chinese people to travel to the country by licensing Japanese tourist agencies in China.
“This will be done for the first time,” said a Japanese bureaucrat who attended the meeting.
Kan and Wen also discussed the visit of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to China, a Japanese foreign ministry official said, effectively confirming Kim’s visit.
However, it is unclear whether the discussions centered on media reports of Kim’s visit or Kim’s actual presence in China.
When asked if China confirmed Kim’s visit, the official said he could not elaborate on the content of the talks.
“It is true that Kim Jong-il’s visit to China came up in talks among the leaders, but we cannot comment on the content [of discussions],” a Japanese foreign ministry official told reporters.
“We did not ask them to explain, but it was one of the issues that came up” he said when asked if it was Japan who asked about the visit.
Meanwhile, South Korean officials in Seoul said Wen had confirmed that Kim was visiting China “to study its dramatic economic development.”
Wen made the comment during a bilateral meeting with Lee on the sidelines of the Tokyo summit, said Hong Sang-pyo, Lee’s spokesman.
It was the first official confirmation of a visit which began on Friday when Kim’s special train rolled across the border.
Wen said the visit was intended “to provide the North with an opportunity to understand China’s economic development and use the understanding for its own development,” Hong told South Korean reporters in Tokyo.
The Chinese premier also made it clear that Beijing opposes a nuclear-armed North Korea and would work to create the environment for inter-Korean dialogue, Hong said.
Two-year-old Xu Haoyang (徐灝洋) has likely just months to live — but the only medicine that can help his rare genetic condition is not found anywhere in China and closed borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic mean that he cannot travel for treatment. Instead, his desperate father, Xu Wei (徐偉), has created a home laboratory to create a remedy for the boy himself. “I didn’t really have time to think about whether to do it or not. It had to be done,” the 30-year-old said from his DIY lab in an apartment building in southwestern Kunming. Haoyang has Menkes syndrome, a genetic disorder
ANGER OVER PARTNERSHIP: After Ukraine purchased drones from a Turkish company, Russia asked Turkey ‘to deal as seriously as possible’ with its concerns over helping Kiev A Ukrainian soldier was killed by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the government said on Friday, as the West accuses Moscow of a troop buildup near Ukraine. Kiev’s army has been battling fighters in two breakaway regions bordering Russia since 2014, after Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms across the border to support the separatists — claims that Moscow denies. Kiev’s military on Friday said that the separatists had targeted Ukrainian military positions with artillery and mortars. “As a result of hostilities, one serviceman was fatally wounded,”
BURNING, LOOTING: The demonstrators called for Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to step down over failure to deliver infrastructure, among other complaints Solomon Islands police yesterday fired tear gas in the capital, Honiara, as crowds of protesters set fire to buildings, including a police station, and looted shops in an eruption of anger at the government, Radio New Zealand (RNZ) reported. The protest was led by people from the Pacific nation’s largest island, Malaita Province, about 120km from the capital. They were demanding that Solomon Island Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare step down over failure to deliver promised infrastructure among other complaints, RNZ said. The protest began peacefully, but most schools and businesses in Honiara were closed by the afternoon as crowds tried to enter the
Tour guide Lai Chi Phuc has been counting down the days until travelers return to the white-sand beaches and thick tropical jungle of Vietnam’s Phu Quoc, a once-poor fishing island pushing to be Asia’s next holiday hot spot as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease. Yesterday, about 200 South Koreans were to arrive on the island, which lies a few kilometers off Cambodia in the azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand, after a vaccine passport scheme started this month in Vietnam. Far from a lazy beach break, their stay promises to be a whirlwind of action and entertainment as they shuffle between a