Chinese Premier Meets Trade Promotion Delegation from Japan

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Chinese Premier Li Qiang, third from front right, poses for a photo with a delegation from the Association for the Promotion of International Trade, Japan, in Beijing on Wednesday.

BEIJING — Chinese Premier Li Qiang has met with a delegation from a Japanese association for promoting trade between the two countries. Participants in the talks included Yohei Kono, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, and Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki.

It was the first visit to China by the Association for the Promotion of International Trade, Japan, since April 2019, as the group stopped dispatching delegations amid the pandemic. Kono is currently president of the organization.

Li holds the No. 2 post in the Chinese Communist Party, and is a close aide to President Xi Jinping. It was the first time since April 2018 for the Chinese premier to have met with a delegation from the Japanese organization.

During the meeting, which took place Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People, Li stressed that he “thinks highly of” the visit to China by the association, adding that it is “natural that there are some differences” between China and Japan.

“It is important for us to work together for the greater good while leaving small differences behind,” Li also said. “As the global situation is uncertain, we should be united to overcome difficulties.”

The premier expressed alarm over Japan’s restrictions on exports of advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China, saying “we have great concern” about the measure.

Kono referred to China’s new counterespionage law that went into effect on July 1. “We hope that the law will not discourage people who wish to promote business exchanges” with China, he said.

Tamaki requested that regular flights between Okinawa Prefecture and China be restored, in addition to simplifying visa procedures. Li said that his government would consider these issues.