Saturday’s Nikkei and Sankei claimed that the Abe administration has decided not to invite Chinese leader Xi to Japan as a state guest this year amid growing conflict between the U.S and China over the national security law for Hong Kong and the coronavirus pandemic as well as mounting opposition within the ruling LDP on account of China’s continued maritime activities around the Senkakus. According to Nikkei, Foreign Minister Motegi said on a TV program on Thursday that the current situation does not warrant bilateral discussion on the timing for Xi’s trip, suggesting that Xi and Prime Minister Abe may hold talks on the margins of the G20 summit in November.
While quoting an unnamed senior GOJ official as saying: “Mr. Xi will not be able to come, and he will not come,” Sankei claimed that it is also highly likely that the Chinese leader will visit next year. The daily projected that Tokyo will probably maintain a low profile in conducting diplomacy toward Beijing in the face of strong international criticism of its response to the pandemic and enactment of the controversial security legislation for Hong Kong.