Prime Minister Abe of Japan meets President Xi of China: A wary eye remains

Prime Minister Abe of Japan meets President Xi of China: A wary eye remains

Sawako Utsumi and Chika Mori

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan is on a visit to China in the hope of improving relations. This notably applies to the economic approach because Abe, just like President Xi Jinping, is worried about the impact of tariffs based on new policies emanating in America under President Donald Trump. Therefore, Abe and Xi, noting the changing geopolitical sands under Trump, have much to gain by moving closer together.

It is seven years since the last Japanese leader visited China. Hence, it is the right time for China and Japan to foster greater ties. After all, with events evolving between North Korea and South Korea – and possible threats to the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) treaty between America and the Russian Federation being raised by the Trump administration – along with the tariffs issue; then, it seems an opportune moment to strengthen ties between China and Japan.

The leader of China commented, As the international situation changes, China and Japan are becoming increasingly dependent on one another. Our countries also have a growing number of common interests and concerns on a multilateral level. The rapid changes in the world are providing China and Japan with opportunities for more in-depth cooperation.”

Reuters reports, “Both countries are neighbors and partners, and will not become a threat to each other, Abe said after meeting with President Xi Jinping on Friday in the first full-scale Sino-Japanese summit since 2011.”

Xi, sharing the same theme, said, “Both sides should accurately grasp each other’s strategic intent, and implement what was agreed – that both sides will become partners, both sides will pose no threats to each other.”

Economic agreements have been signed between China and Japan of significant importance. This relates to deals valuing approximately $18 billion US dollars. More important, given the tariff crisis between America and China, it shows that Japan seeks economic stability. Hence, with enormous trade volume already existing between China and Japan, then new business agreements are following on from the economic angle that already exists. 

Lee Jay Walker, Modern Tokyo Times, stipulates, “Of course, the words of Abe and Xi are welcomed. However, both nations still cast a wary eye on each other. It may be that this will change in the future if both nations are sincere. Yet, the territorial issue, the policies of America in Northeast Asia, issues related to the South China Sea, geopolitical concerns about the Mekong Delta, Japan’s hope of expanding ties with India, respective militarization, the role of the armed forces of America based in Japan – and many other important factors – equates to a complex relationship for the foreseeable future that will most likely fluctuate.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-japan/china-japan-to-forge-closer-ties-at-historic-turning-point-idUSKCN1MZ00O

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