China, Japan reopen finance talks that were delayed amid tensions

BEIJING, China – Chinese and Japanese finance ministers on Saturday reopened talks to deepen economic co-operation that were delayed over strained relations between the Asian giants.

Chinese authorities said the country’s Finance Minister Lou Jiwei will sit down with his counterpart, Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso in Beijing.

It is the fifth round of dialogue between the finance ministers from the world’s second- and third-largest economies. The last round was held in April 2012, before relations became tense over disputing claims to islands in the East China Sea and a visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013 to a shrine that honours Japan’s World War II victims, including war criminals.

State-run Xinhua News Agency said the latest round of talks had been previously scheduled for 2013.

Contacts between the two countries are slowly improving, and Abe and Xi have met twice since late last year.

Discussions may broach a Chinese-led Asian regional bank, the charter for which is due to be signed late this month. Beijing’s proposal for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank attracted widespread support from many governments, but the U.S. and Japan have not sought membership.