Japan PM Says Japan-China Ties Key 09/26 08:53
TOKYO (AP) -- New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he and Chinese
President Xi Jinping agreed in talks Friday to work closely together by holding
high-level meetings including summits, but did not discuss the possibility of a
visit by Xi to Japan.
"I told (Xi) that the stability of Japan-China relations is crucial, not
only for the two countries but also for the region and for international
society," Suga told reporters after their phone conversation.
His talks with Xi late Friday were his first since taking office just over a
week ago, replacing Shinzo Abe, who resigned due to poor health.
A planned visit by Xi to Japan last April was indefinitely postponed because
of the coronavirus pandemic. The plan had triggered protests even within
Japan's governing party because of China's tightening of controls over Hong
Kong and its assertive actions in regional seas.
"We did not discuss (Xi's) possible visit to Japan," Suga said.
However, the leaders agreed to hold summits and other high-level meetings to
cooperate in bilateral, regional and international issues, he said.
Relations between the two Asian rivals have improved recently as China faces
heightened tensions with the United States.
But Japan sees China's military development and increasingly assertive
stance in the East and South China Seas as a major security threat. Chinese
coast guard vessels routinely violate territorial waters around the
Japanese-controlled southern islands of Senkaku, which China calls Diaoyu and
China's official Xinhua News Agency said that Xi noted the improvement in
relations and said that China stands ready to work with the Suga government to
deepen cooperation in mutually beneficial areas such as trade and to handle
sensitive issues, including historical ones.
Japan's military invasion of China in the 1930s and 1940s remains a sore
spot between the two.
Earlier Friday, Suga also held talks by phone with Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi and expressed his intention to work together to achieve a "free
and open Indo-Pacific" aimed at checking China's maritime assertiveness.
On Thursday, Suga held talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and
urged him to take actions to mend bilateral relations badly damaged by war