TOKYO — China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi will visit Japan for three days from Thursday and meet with Japan’s national security adviser Shotaro Yachi, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday.
The visit is likely to work out details of President Xi Jinping’s planned visit to Japan for this year’s summit of the Group of 20 major economies in Osaka in late June, sources familiar with bilateral relations had said last week.
Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee, is likely to meet with Yachi, Abe’s close aide, on Thursday and with Abe the next day, according to the sources.
Xi’s visit, if realized, would be his first since he came to power in 2013 and the first by a Chinese head of state since Hu Jintao in November 2010.
For years, the two neighbors have been mired in a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The group of uninhabited islets, which are called Diaoyu in Chinese, are controlled by Japan but claimed by China.
But Sino-Japanese ties have been markedly improving recently, with 2018 — the 40th anniversary of the signing and entering into force of the bilateral Treaty of Peace and Friendship — serving as an incentive to forge better relations.