– By Vinayak Barot
New Delhi, Sep 26: China and Japan have agreed to work closely together in the “larger interest of the two countries, the region and the international society,” the Japanese new prime minister Yoshihide Suga said.
Suga had a telephonic talk with the Chinese president Xi Jinping on Friday and other high officials after which he said both the countries had shown keen interest to work closely together.
“I talked with 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 said.
The two leaders, however, did not discuss the possible dates of Jinping’s visit to Japan. “We did not discuss Xi Jinping’s possible visit to Japan,” Suga said.
Last April, Xi Jinping had postponed his plan to visit Japan due to the spread of coronavirus in Japan. 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.
During the summit talks, both Suga and Jinping agreed to hold high level and summit meetings to strengthen the relations between the two countries and cooperate with each other bilaterally, regionally and on international issues.
The relations between China and Japan have been disturbed in the last few months and China is facing heightened tensions with the United States. Japan sees China’s military development and increasingly assertive stance in the East and South China Seas as a major security threat.
Japan consistently notices that Chinese coast guard vessels routinely violate territorial waters around the Japanese-controlled southern islands of Senkaku, which China calls Diaoyu and claims it as its own.
After the conversation between the two leaders, the Chinese media claimed that “Xi noted the improvement in relations and said 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,”
The Japanese media said Japan was looking to develop good relations with every nation. Suga also held telephonic talks with the 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 compensation issues.