Tensions have been brewing in the Eastern part of Asia between China and Japan for a long time now that many are already anticipating violent clashes to begin anytime soon. Word wars and blame games seem to be the norm between the two that it was quite a surprise to see Japan try to extend an arm to start peaceful talks with China. Last week, a group of Japanese lawmakers went to China led by former Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and met with Zhang Dejiang of China’s Politburo Standing Committee.
While the visit is not the first attempt from Japan to cool tensions, last year’s scheduled meeting with the members of the Japan-China Friendship Parliamentarians’ Union was canceled as no Chinese Communist Party officials “would meet it.” Komura has relayed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s willingness to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the fringes of the APEC summit happening in November. While Zhang has pledged to inform Xi of this, he seemed unable to hold his tongue and hinted that Japan was to blame for the recent tensions. Xi, acquiescing to a meeting with Abe will be dependent on Japan’s willingness to admit itself as the cause for all these issues. Xinhua reported Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying saying “China has always welcomed people from all walks of life in Japan.” But she stressed that events such as a visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine “pose severe political obstacles for high-level exchanges.” Concluding her statement, Hua said, “Whoever started the trouble should end it.”
Japan has also showed concern regarding China’s non-committal stance for a summit between the two leaders. An editorial printed in the Yomiuri Shimbun called China “obstinate” as they still refuse to go for a compromise to fix the current state of relations. It further went on to say “We believe most of the cause of the current stalemate in bilateral ties stem from Chinese side,” a statement that would definitely not be welcomed in China. While the Komura visit was unsuccessful to do more in mending strained political ties, many hope that at least it was able to work something out in the economic relations.
[via Vancouver Sun]