Foreign Minister Taro Kono has started arranging a visit to China as early as late January next year, a government source told the Nikkei. The visit is aimed at laying the groundwork for improving Japan-Sino relations, such as the early realization of a trilateral summit between Tokyo, Beijing, and Seoul, through meetings with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other key Chinese government officials. As for North Korea issues, Kono will explain the necessity of putting more pressure on Pyongyang because China plays a major role in making economic sanctions effective.
The visit is expected to take place before or after a regular Diet session is convened in late January. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship. Japan is to preside over the trilateral summit, aiming to host it in Tokyo, for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to China during 2018 and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Japan.