All Sunday dailies took up Abe’s meeting with Chinese President Xi in Hamburg on Saturday on the margins of the G20 summit, noting that the two leaders were eager to improve bilateral ties. Abe expressed support for Xi’s signature policy of creating a transcontinental “One Belt, One Road” economic zone. The Japanese leader apparently wanted to highlight rapprochement with Beijing as a major diplomatic achievement in order regain his grip on power that has been undermined due to the LDP’s dismal performance in the recent Tokyo assembly election.
As for China, the papers said President Xi was also anxious to mend ties with Tokyo especially at a time when its relations with the U.S. and South Korea have become strained. Ensuring stable relations with China’s neighbors is critical for Xi, who would like to reinforce his power base ahead of the Communist Party convention in the autumn. The papers added, however, that friction between Tokyo and Beijing may reemerge over the Senkaku dispute and China’s militarization of the South China Sea. Sankei claimed that the Chinese leader apparently did not fully embrace Abe’s enthusiasm for improving bilateral relations.