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  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 12:02pm

Sino-Japanese relations

The relationship between the two largest economies in Asia has been marred throughout the 20th century due to territorial and political disputes including Taiwanese sovereignty; the invasion of China by Japan in the second world war and Japan’s subsequent refusal to acknowledge the extent of its war crimes; territorial disputes surrounding the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and associated fishing rights and energy resources; and Japanese-American security co-operation.   


China, Japan 'preparing ground for top leaders to meet'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 May, 2014, 10:42am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 May, 2014, 4:45am

China and Japan are paving the way for their leaders to meet at a regional summit in Beijing this autumn after a series of lower-level exchanges between the countries over the past few months, according to political analysts.

The assessment came after Masahiko Komura, a former Japanese foreign minister and vice-president of Japan's governing Liberal Democratic Party, wrapped up a three-day trip to Beijing on Monday. He held talks with Zhang Dejiang, the third-ranking member of the Communist Party.

Relations between China and Japan have been badly strained by a territorial dispute concerning the sovereignty of several islets in the East China Sea and Beijing's outrage at Tokyo's apparent whitewashing of its wartime past.

Komura told Zhang that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was ready to hold a formal meeting with President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum meeting in the Chinese capital.

Komura told reporters after the meeting that Zhang said he would convey the message to Xi.

With bilateral relations at their most fraught in decades, recent Japanese delegations to Beijing were only given an audience with Vice-Premier Wang Yang . The arrangement for Komura to meet Zhang signals that both sides want to ease tensions, according to analysts.

"It is a little surprise that Zhang met Komura," said Lin Xiaoguang, an international relations expert at the Central Party School. "It shows that China is also taking steps to break the diplomatic stalemate between the two nations."

High-level exchanges between the two countries were suspended after Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine, where 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including several Class-A war criminals, are memorialised.

Jun Okumura, a visiting scholar at the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs, said both sides were looking for a way out of the impasse.

Professor Lian Degui, of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said Abe would go to China for the Apec summit and that both Abe and Xi would want to avoid any awkwardness as a result of continued Sino-Japanese tensions.

"There will inevitably be some kind of encounter between the two leaders during the summit" and neither of them want that moment to be marked by "embarrassment" or unease, he said.

He said Beijing would be watching how Abe conducts himself in advance of the summit. If Tokyo was quiet over the next few months, said Lian, the low-level bilateral exchanges taking place would set the right tone and atmosphere for the leaders to meet.

Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University's Tokyo campus, said Abe needed the legitimising affect of the bilateral summit more than Xi. "For Abe, it's important to demonstrate that he is accepted by his peers in Asia and has not been blacklisted," said Dujarric. "But Xi can play hard to get."


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This article is now closed to comments

P Blair
The recalcitrant and devil worshipper Shinzo Abe was declared persona non grata and definitely will be snubbed by Chinese leaders. Nobody in their right mind will want to meet a war monger like Shinzo Abe who's greatest achievement in to pray to war criminals at the Yasukuni War Shrine.
If Shinzo Abe was to meet the Chinese leaders he should first apologise for praying to war criminals at the Yasukuni War shrine, apologise for Japan's invasion of China, kneel at the Nanking Massacre Shrine, reverse all the white washed history in the school books and kneel at the statute of the comfort-women or sex-slaves.
Masako Owada
It wouldn't make sense for anybody to meet with Shinzo Abe who glorifies Japanese barbarism and worships war-criminals. Japan should get a different PM.
Looking back at how Abe tricked Obama into believing TPP will be a done deal when he was in Tokyo , I believe this is just another one of Abe's ploy used on the Chinese.
I agree that both sides want to cool tensions and start some kind of dialogue, but I do not believe Abe will negotiate on the Diaoyu islands and Xi will not be interested if the islands are not on the agenda. Maybe a hand shake since China is the host country?
We shall see when November comes.
I'd rather see China go to war with them and just wipe out the whole country this time...........
I Gandhi
Nobody in their right minds will want to meet with the mad man Shinzo Abe. Shinzo Abe and the Japanese fascists should go meet their war criminals ancestors from the Yasukuni War Shrine instead.
Stephen Harner posted this piece on May 7 2014 In Forbes Asia with the heading:Abe's 'Active Pacifism' Foreign Policy Falling Flat; Will Not Get Meeting With Xi - ****www.forbes.com/sites/stephenharner/2014/05/07/abes-active-pacifism-foreign-policy-falling-flat-will-not-get-meeting-with-xi/.
I agree wholeheartedly with Harner's view on Abe.
Also, one of the article in the Nikkei Asia Reivew: Abenomics losing shine among stock investors - ****asia.nikkei.com/Markets/Equities/Abenomics-losing-shine-among-stock-investors.
I think the best strategy for Xi is to wait till Abenomics falters so Abe has no choice but to negotiate in a meaningful way. Or after Abe is booted out of office.
In the mean time, just ignore Abe.
meanwhile, just yesterday, Abe was speaking to European leaders that China is the threat to Asia and the world. good luck and good night..... -:)


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