Japan, China finance heads meet

Japan, China finance heads meet

BEIJING - Japan and China agreed to push for infrastructure development in Asia during a bilateral finance dialogue in Beijing on Saturday.

"Both sides will promote infrastructure development in Asia, including through coordination with development financial institutions, on the basis of common interests," said a joint statement released after the dialogue.

In the fifth Japan-China Finance Dialogue, held for the first time in three years and two months, Taro Aso, deputy prime minister and finance minister, and Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei exchanged their views on economic and financial issues.

During the dialogue, Aso explained to the Chinese delegation that Japan plans to invest about $110 billion (about ¥14 trillion) in infrastructure development in Asia, such as through the Asian Development Bank, which is led by Japan and the United States. Aso said at a press conference, "The plan was understood well by the Chinese side."

Meanwhile, Lou stressed at the beginning of the dialogue, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is "welcomed by the international community."

Regarding the Japan-China relationship, Lou said bilateral dialogues have improved gradually in each area. He also said the door is still open for Japan to join the AIIB. Japan has stayed out of the AIIB for now, raising questions over the institution's ability to ensure fairness in management.

Meanwhile, the two ministers vowed to strengthen financial co-operation in East Asia while discussing the future direction for developing financial co-operation among ASEAN Plus Three countries: members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as Japan, China and South Korea.

The ministers also agreed to strengthen communication and coordination in various ministerial sectors to enhance mutual understanding.

"The ministers shared the common view that the dialogue is of important significance for both sides, which contributes to deepening exchange of macroeconomic situation and policy measures of the two countries, strengthening financial co-operation, and hence helping further advance Japan-China strategic and mutually beneficial relationship in the economic and financial fields," the joint statement said.

From the Japanese side, Isshu Sugawara, senior vice finance minister, and senior officials from the ministry's budget and tax bureaus also attended the dialogue. The two countries agreed to hold the sixth finance dialogue in Tokyo next year.

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