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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Chinese communist paper publishes photo of Abe-Xi meeting with Japanese flag in background

  • July 10, 2017
  • , Mainichi , p. 7
  • JMH Translation

By Joji Uramatsu in Beijing


The July 9 morning edition of Renmin Ribao, the official organ of the Communist Party of China, reported on the meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a photo that showed the Japanese and Chinese national flags in the background. This was the first time for the two national flags to be shown in the background at a bilateral meeting since the Japan-China summit of May 2012, and this has been interpreted by some as “a signal from China on improving relations,” according to a source on Japan-China diplomacy.


Summit meetings between the leaders of the two countries were suspended after Japan nationalized the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa (called Diaoyu Islands in China) in 2012. Xi met Abe for the first time in November 2014 when he hosted the APEC Summit in Beijing. At that time, Renmin Ribao printed six photos of Xi shaking hands with the leaders of the ROK, Vietnam, and four other countries with the national flags in the background, except for Japan, whose national flag was conspicuously absent from the photo. Several Japan-China summit meetings were held on the sidelines of international conferences subsequently, but the Japanese flag was never shown.

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