As both China and Japan seek to find ways to better diplomatic relations, a group of senior Japanese lawmakers are reportedly set to meet with a high-ranking Chinese official during their three-day visit to Beijing. The two East Asian neighbours have not had any high-level talks in years due to territorial and historical issues and this possible meeting may be a step towards breaking that cycle.
A delegation led by Masahiko Komura, vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is on a mission to normalize relations with China through the Japan-China Friendship Parliamentarians’ Union. According to former Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, who spoke with the delegation on Sunday, they are trying to organize a meeting on Monday with Zhang Dejiang, the third ranked officer of the Communist Party of China and the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which is the country’s state legislature. Tang also said, “The Chinese leadership is placing much importance” on this mission, in light of repeated calls from the international community for the two countries to settle their differences.
The delegation also includes Katsuya Okada, former president of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan and Kazuo Kitagawa, the deputy chief of the LDP’s junior party New Komeito. They were at first unsure if the Chinese government would send any top official to meet with them, given the frosty relations between them as of late. But Beijing’s recent invitation to Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe, the first in 18 years, was seen as a softening on China’s end towards finally opening up diplomatic channels with Japan.
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