Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to send his second-in-command, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, to China sometime in April and meet with the country’s recently confirmed leaders, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, according to a report by the Sankei Shimbun. Aso will also have a summit with China’s finance minister during the former’s visit. According to the newspaper, the two sides are already coordinating to prepare for Taro’s arrival in Beijing. Japan’s finance ministry has no comment, though.
The visit comes several months after Abe returned to premiership in December. Since then, both nations have been in an ugly spat, mainly due to the Japan-administered but China-claimed Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyu as the Chinese would have it. The Chinese government has repeatedly sent ships to monitor the area, and both sides have put fighter jets airborne. So far, there have not been any physical clashes between the two, as they continue to restrain themselves.
Repeatedly, though, Abe has said that the Japan-China relationship is one that Tokyo considerably values, which is probably why both sides have not gone on to open war. In any case, it has been reported that a group of influential Japanese businessmen flew to Beijing yesterday to meet with former Chinese foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan. The visit is said to be an attempt to sooth ties between the two nations in order to bring Japan’s exports back to normalcy after a widespread boycott of Japanese products in China has contributed to the former’s trade deficit.
[via Daily Telegraph]
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