Yomiuri noted that conservative LDP politicians remain strongly opposed to Prime Minister Abe’s plan to invite Chinese leader Xi to visit Japan as a state guest in view of Beijing’s aggressive naval operations in the vicinity of the Senkakus and crackdown on Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. While the LDP leadership headed by Secretary General Nikai fully supports the plan in the belief that rolling out the red carpet to the top Chinese politician is critical for managing bilateral relations, Abe is reportedly performing a balancing act between the proponents and opponents. In an apparent bid to please anti-Chinese LDP parliamentarians, Abe chose to mention Taiwan in his key policy speech at the Diet last week but not his plan to accord state guest status to Xi. According to the article, Taiwanese President Tsai posted a tweet in Japanese saying: “I was very pleased that the word Taiwan elicited cheers in Japan’s parliament.”
In a related story, Sankei wrote that arrangements are underway for Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi to travel to Tokyo in February to expedite arrangements for Xi’s state visit to Japan in the spring. As the top Chinese official in charge of diplomacy, Yang is likely to hold talks with National Security Secretariat Secretary General Kitamura.