Japanese foreign minister says summit with China is possible
Japan’s foreign minister told the Nikkei news service on Friday that he was working with China to arrange a summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping next month.
In an exclusive interview with the Japanese News Agency, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said he hoped the two sides would plan the meeting and improve relations in time to mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between their nations in September.
Hayashi told Nikkei that “Japan is always open to dialogue” and called for a bilateral effort towards constructive and stable relations.
The news agency reports that Kishida and Xi have not spoken since a phone call in October 2021. Xi’s last face-to-face meeting with a Japanese leader was in December 2019. But Kishida considers the stability of ties with China as a priority under his shift to what he calls “realistic” diplomacy for a new era.
Japan’s foreign minister said Tokyo and Beijing would negotiate details of a summit, including the format, whether they meet in person, virtually or by phone.
He said the meeting would most likely take place online in the coming months, but the talks could take place in a third country, such as on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia in November.
He said a meeting in China or Japan was considered unlikely at this time. The news agency said there was political opposition in Japan to the idea of Kishida making an official trip to China, given the recent increase in Chinese military activity in the Taiwan Strait.
Chinese military planes have crossed the Strait’s midline, the unofficial buffer zone separating Taiwan and the mainland, several times in recent weeks in response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on the island. Five ballistic missiles fell in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Hayashi condemned China’s actions but said it’s “at times like these that communication is crucial.” He said he hoped the Taiwan issue would be resolved peacefully through dialogue.
Nikkei said Takeo Akiba, secretary-general of Japan’s National Security Secretariat, and Chinese foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi held a seven-hour meeting Wednesday in Tianjin, China.
They confirmed that the two nations would continue to dialogue. Hayashi’s remarks about a potential summit likely reflected the progress made at that meeting.