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International relations

China and Japan agree to fight protectionism

Liu He and Aso push for resumption of currency swap pact

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso, left, met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing Thursday.   © Kyodo

BEIJING -- Japan and China should work to defend free trade as protectionism does not help any country, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He agreed in a meeting on Thursday.

"We affirmed that protectionism benefits no country," Aso told reporters after meeting Liu, as well as China's number seven, First Vice Premier Han Zheng in Beijing. "Japan will fight protectionism within the rules of the World Trade Organization," Aso said.

Aso and Liu also agreed to quickly hammer out details of financial cooperation centering on reinstating a currency swap pact, aiming to strike a formal deal at a summit the two countries are trying to schedule for October.

Aso, who doubles as deputy prime minister, is visiting China to meet with Finance Minister Liu Kun on Friday.

Vice Premier Liu is a close aide to President Xi Jinping and leads economic policy management. He broke the ice by greeting Aso in Japanese, indicating his focus on Sino-Japan relations.

Liu, who represented China in trade talks with the U.S., briefed Aso about the negotiations.

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