Most papers reported on a meeting of senior Japanese and Chinese diplomats held in Tokyo on Tuesday, during which Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Akiba and his Chinese counterpart Assistant Foreign Minister Kong agreed to cooperate in responding to North Korea’s nuclear and missile development. With the 45th anniversary of the diplomatic normalization between Japan and China this fall in mind, Akiba expressed Japan’s hope to improve its ties with China by expanding the positive aspects of the relationship and appropriately addressing outstanding issues. Kong said in response that there are both opportunities and challenges for the two nations and it is necessary for Tokyo and Beijing to improve their bilateral relationship in a sustainable manner. Concerning the possibility of holding bilateral talks between Prime Minister Abe and President Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany in July, the two diplomats agreed to continue consultations on the matter.
Asahi wrote that although Japan and China agreed to conduct coordination in response to North Korea, it remains to been seen whether the two nations will be able to improve their ties in the near future because Beijing was strongly displeased with the United States’ confirmation at the U.S.-Japan summit in February that the Senkaku Islands fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty and a senior GOJ official’s official visit to Taiwan in March.