Wen in Japan: Melting Ice and Global Warming

The Washington Post reports on Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Japan:

Ph2007041001816Officials said Wen and his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will preside over the establishment of a high-level economic dialogue to better manage a fast-growing trade relationship that surpassed $200 billion in 2006 and is vital to the economies of both their nations. In addition, the two leaders will sign a document outlining what Wen said would be “a new era of China-.”

But the main significance of the two-day visit is that it is occurring at all after several years of estrangement and tension between Beijing and Tokyo. Officials from both governments underlined the importance they attach to sweetening the atmosphere. Asia’s two major economies have to interact smoothly, they said, and the risks are high if relations are colored by mistrust and enmity. [Full text]

– Read also an analysis of the visit from Susan L. Shirk on the Washington Post’s website. China and Japan have also signed new environmental agreements during Wen’s visit. From the Australian:

In a potentially important development for the global campaign to control greenhouse-gas emissions, China offered for the first time to participate in the creating of a post-Kyoto Protocol framework.

Beijing is a Kyoto signatory but the protocol, which expires in 2012, imposes no greenhouse-gas commitments on China. Because any new framework would demand emission-reduction targets from China, its leaders have until now been reluctant to discuss a new regimen.

Environment and energy agreements were signed after a summit meeting between Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Premier Wen Jiabao, who is making the first visit by a top Chinese leader to Tokyo in more than six years. [Full text]

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