A Japanese delegation led by former House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono urged China in talks with Premier Li Qiang on Wednesday to facilitate a conducive environment for business, alluding to the country’s new anti-espionage law that has caused concern among many foreign firms, according to a member of the group.
In their meeting in Beijing, Kono, representing some 80 members of the delegation that includes many Japanese businesses, asked Li that China not “dampen our appetite for investment,” Kono’s aide told reporters.
Li welcomed the Japanese Association for the Promotion of International Trade mission at the Great Hall of the People and expressed gratitude to the group for promoting economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.
Yohei Kono (L), leader of the Japanese Association for the Promotion of International Trade delegation meets with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July 5, 2023. (Kyodo)
“In my daily exchanges with my Japanese friends, everyone holds a common view that China and Japan must get along with and support each other so as to achieve greater win-win results in cooperation,” Li said.
The talks that lasted for 70 minutes came as bilateral ties have been strained over China’s detention of a Japanese businessman in March and Tokyo’s export control measures for advanced chip manufacturing equipment that will take effect later this month.
The premier expressed concern over Japan’s new steps seen as an effort to hinder Beijing’s development of advanced semiconductors that could be used for military purposes, the aide said.
Noting some countries have politicized economic matters, Li said Tokyo’s move could “disrupt the global economy.” He also stressed China’s development will “benefit countries including Japan and not become a risk,” according to the aide.
As for China’s revised counterespionage law that took effect last Saturday and broadened the scope of what constitutes spying activities to safeguard national security, Kono also relayed delegation members’ worries to Commerce Minister Wang Wentao on Tuesday, the aide added.
Expatriates and foreign businesses remain worried about the law’s arbitrary enforcement in the country.
In the meeting with Li, Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki, who is a member of the delegation, called for the restoration of direct flights between the southern Japanese prefecture and China as well as simplified visa procedures to boost bilateral exchanges.
The group is on its first visit to China since April 2019.
Tamaki is separately scheduled Thursday to visit southeastern China’s Fujian Province, which maintains friendly ties with Okinawa Prefecture based on the history of exchanges spanning more than 600 years, including the period of the Ryukyu Kingdom that lasted until the 19th century.
Source: Kyodo News