All national dailies wrote that Foreign Minister Hayashi and his Chinese counterpart Wang held a videoconference for about 70 minutes on Wednesday. Hayashi reportedly stressed the need for the international community to work together to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization amid Pyongyang’s reported preparations to conduct a nuclear test. Concerning China’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Hayashi told Wang that Japan hopes Beijing will play a “responsible role” in ensuring global peace and security. The dailies said that this was the first time in six months for the top diplomats of Japan and China to hold talks and that the videoconference was held at the request of the Japanese side. Hayashi also expressed Japan’s serious concern over China’s behavior in the South and East China Seas, Hong Kong, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and said that the Japanese public’s views about China are very severe.
Nikkei speculated that China agreed to accept Japan’s request to hold foreign ministerial talks at this juncture out of concern over the moves of the Quad members, which will hold a summit meeting in Tokyo on May 24. According to a Chinese briefing, Wang told Hayashi that the United States and Japan should not infringe on China’s sovereignty, security, or interests. Yomiuri wrote that although the two nations are hoping to establish stable relations ahead of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic normalization on Sept. 29 of this year, no sign of improvement is in sight yet.