TOKYO — New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stated he and Chinese President Xi Jinping consented in discussions Friday to work closely together by holding high-level meetings such as summits, but didn’t talk about the prospect of a trip by Xi into Japan.
“I told (Xi) the equilibrium of Japan-China connections is essential, not just for both nations but also for the region and global society,” Suga told reporters after their telephone conversation.
A planned trip by Xi to Japan last April was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The strategy had triggered protests even in Japan’s governing party due to China’s tightening of controls over Hong Kong and its particular activities in regional oceans.
“We didn’t talk (Xi’s) potential trip to Japan,” Suga said.
On the other hand, the leaders agreed to maintain summits and other high tech meetings to collaborate in bilateral, regional, and global issues, he explained.
The connection between the two Asian rivals has improved lately as China faces increased tensions with the United States.
However, Japan sees China’s military growth and assertive position in the East and South China Seas as a significant security hazard. Chinese coast guard vessels regularly violate territorial waters around the Japanese-controlled southern islands of Senkaku, which China calls Diaoyu and claims.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency stated that Xi noted that the progress in relationships and stated that China stands ready to work together with the Suga authorities to deepen cooperation in mutually beneficial areas like commerce and to manage sensitive issues, such as historical ones.
Before Friday, Suga also held discussions by telephone with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and voiced his intention to work together to attain a”free and open Indo-Pacific” geared toward assessing China’s marine assertiveness.
On Thursday, Suga held talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and encouraged him to take action to fix bilateral relations severely damaged by warfare payment problems.