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Suga to talk with Xi this evening amid deepening conflict between U.S., China

TV Asahi reported on a planned teleconference between Prime Minister Suga and Chinese leader Xi slated for this evening. A TV Asahi reporter said it is rare for a Chinese leader to hold a teleconference with a Japanese prime minister, adding that according to a MOFA source, it reflects China’s intention to draw closer to Japan. She said attention will be focused on whether the two leaders will discuss Xi’s postponed visit to Japan, adding that the GOJ remains cautious about hosting the Chinese leader at this point. The reporter quoted a GOJ source as saying that “it could send the wrong message to neighboring nations if Japan were to embrace an isolated China.” She conjectured that the two leaders will first confirm cooperation on common challenges such as the novel coronavirus and North Korea. She opined that while Suga will continue the foreign policy of former Prime Minister Abe based on the U.S.-Japan alliance, he is also hoping to maintain  momentum for rapprochement with China, adding that he is faced with the challenge of how to strategically chart Japan’s course amid the deepening conflict between the U.S. and China.

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