Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be launching a fresh drive to lobby Premier Wen Jiabao for China's support of Japan's membership to the United Nations Security Council, according to Japanese diplomats. Tokyo is finalising a new proposal to secure a permanent seat on an expanded council as part of reforms, despite a failed diplomatic drive two years ago. Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Noriyuki Shikata said Mr Abe wanted to start early consultations with China before completing its proposal. 'Japan's permanent membership is an important issue for us and we will be hoping for good discussions as part of wider talks on UN reform during Mr Wen's visit,' Mr Shikata said. 'We are hoping for support from China and across the region and we know China is an important player on this issue. 'We believe Japan's entry would serve the interests of the wider region.' The effort is seen in diplomatic circles as a long shot for Mr Abe, given China's firm resistance to an earlier Japanese bid for permanent membership two years ago. Chinese diplomats said at the time that they would back India's effort but not Japan's. Mr Shikata said Japan would continue its drive, however, buoyed by previous statements from Chinese leaders that they support a growing international role for Japan. Two possible extra Asian seats are under consideration after proposals put forward by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. The issue has again surfaced on the fringes of the current General Assembly, despite a deadlock on the issue for about 15 years. Diplomatic sources said Japan was again in talks with India, Germany and Brazil - the so-called G-4 grouping - about a renewed push to snare permanent membership. China is a permanent member of the Security Council along with the United States, Britain, France and Russia. The five all carry veto powers. Any change to the composition of the permanent membership must be approved by two-thirds of the 192 countries in the General Assembly. Japan has long seen the UN as a core part of its pacifist international policies.