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Japan and China agree that a trade war will hurt the global economy

CHINA (OBSERVATORY) –┬áThe two countries agree that a trade war will have serious consequences for the world economy, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on Monday after a high-level economic dialogue between Japan and China.

Concern is growing over a trade dispute between China, the world’s second largest economy and the United States, in which countries share the threat of customs duties. Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, has been criticized by US President Donald Trump for trade and has been charged with imports of steel and aluminum, but Tokyo has not threatened to impose countervailing duties.

“We have reached a common understanding that the trade war, whatever the country that will be launched, will have a very big impact on the prosperity of the global economy,” Kono told reporters after the first high-level dialogue of its kind in more than seven years.

Kono and Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi, the top diplomat in the Chinese government, chaired the meeting in Tokyo.

The trade issues are likely to top the summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Trump later this week. Tokyo is keen to avoid paying for talks on a bilateral free trade agreement that not only opens up the market but also extends to monetary and currency policies.

Kono said Japan was likely to cooperate with China on the Road Belt Initiative projects unveiled by China in 2013 and aimed at building a modern silk road linking China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

“It is very possible that Japan will cooperate with China in various projects (belt and road) on a case-by-case basis when meeting international standards,” Kono said.