In a move to stabilize frayed relations with its East Asian neighbors, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for “frank” summit talks with China and South Korea on Sunday. Japan’s bilateral ties with have been soured by long-running territorial disputes and disagreements regarding interpretation of history, and a year that has been marked with exchanges of strong words and comments have all but stopped any opportunity to hold any top-level summit, as Beijing and Seoul has accused Tokyo of a lack of remorse for Japan’s World War II actions.
“We should hold a summit meeting and have a frank discussion,” Abe declared in an interview on NHK, two days after Japan’s foreign minister put out a similar call for similar talks between the three countries. Abe, China’s President Xi Jinping, and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye all came to power in 2013, but growing nationalism in the region have prevented them from holding a summit for a while now. During the interview, Abe stated the reason for his controversial visit to the Yasukuni war shrine – he said that he had visited to make a pledge against war, and pray for those who lost their lives for their countries. “I want people to think about whether this is wrong. If they think about it, I think the misunderstanding will go away,” he said.
Abe then continued, saying that a summit should be held “all the more because there are these issues,” but clearly stated that Tokyo would not be making any concessions over disputed territories just to make the summit possible. “It would be unreasonable if Japan must clear hurdles for summit talks,” he said. Just this Friday, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said that the leaders of the respective nations involved should “make efforts to solve” their disputes. Before that, China’s envoy to the African Union had branded Abe a “troublemaker”.
[via Yahoo News]