On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe congratulated Xi Jinping for becoming China’s new president, even as the two nations disputing sovereignty over a group of islands in the East China Sea. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga revealed that Abe sent a congratulatory message to Xi, saying that Japan wants to work with him in a “mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests”.
Suga reiterated that Japan still considers China to be one of their most important international relationships despite all the recent happenings between the two countries. China has traditionally been Japan’s biggest trade partner, but relations between the two Asian giants have soured since Tokyo nationalized the group of islands called Senkakus by the Japanese and the Diayus by China. That move by Japan sparked numerous street demonstrations across China.
Japan will not budge on its claim over the island group, Suga said, but in view of the new leadership, he said that Tokyo wished to work with Xi from a big-picture point of view. “We have always kept our door open for dialogue with China,” Suga concluded.
Xi became China’s new state president after being the choice of nearly 3,000 legislators on Thursday morning. China has a transfer of power once every 10 years, and Xi garnered 2,952 votes of the total 2,956 valid votes cast. This latest position follows Xi’s stints as the Communist Party general secretary and the Central Military Commission chairman.
[ via Straits Times ]
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