Photo/Illutration Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in December 2019 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

MUNICH--Japan and China reaffirmed on Feb. 15 their commitment to work closely to contain the new coronavirus epidemic and realize Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Japan in April. 

The reaffirmation came during a 30-minute meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, here on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference.

Motegi told reporters that he expressed “great appreciation” to the Chinese government for its “full support” of Japan's evacuation of its citizens from Wuhan, the heart of the new coronavirus outbreak, on charter flights since late last month.

In reply, Wang conveyed that Beijing will continue to do its utmost to ensure the safety and health of Japanese citizens, according to Motegi.

Motegi also said Wang showed gratitude for the medical and relief supplies those charter airplanes transported to Wuhan to help local authorities to rein in the outbreak.

On Xi’s planned visit to Japan in early April, the foreign ministers agreed that it should proceed as scheduled.

Motegi said he underscored the significance of Xi’s visit to Japan as state guest as the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 economies have a great responsibility for the peace and prosperity of the region and world.

“The Chinese president’s visit will serve as a good opportunity to show the intent of the two countries to fully fulfill their responsibility to domestic and world audiences,” Motegi told reporters.