Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan held talks on Wednesday to set the stage for a state visit to Japan by President Xi Jinping next spring amid a recent thaw in bilateral relations.
Wang, who attended Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony in Tokyo on Tuesday, is known to be very close to Xi, who agreed with Abe in June on the fringes of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka that they would step up preparations for a state visit by the Chinese leader.
Japan and China now say their political relationship, once chilled over wartime history and territory, has returned to a “normal track.”
During a five-day period through Friday, Abe plans to meet with over 50 foreign leaders visiting to witness Emperor Naruhito’s proclamation of his enthronement.
Abe and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak Yon are set to meet Thursday, when attention will focus on whether the two leaders can find ways to stem the sharp worsening of bilateral ties over wartime history and trade.
On Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga spoke with visiting U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
“I expressed my appreciation for President (Donald) Trump’s congratulatory statement yesterday,” Suga told a press conference, adding that Chao said she was honored to have attended the enthronement ceremony.
Trump and first lady Melania visited Japan in May as the first state guests since Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne and Japan ushered in the new Reiwa imperial era.
“Our global partnership is an unshakeable pillar of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world. It is a testament to the noble endeavor of advancing democracy, liberty, and human dignity for all,” Trump said in a statement.