Japan's top security envoy to visit China
KYOTO, Japan – Japan said Wednesday, July 15, its top security diplomat will tour China and Mongolia in a trip seen as a potential precursor to another summit between Tokyo and Beijing.
Shotaro Yachi, the head of the National Security Council, will visit Beijing from Thursday, July 16, through Saturday for talks including a meeting with Yang Jiechi, China's top diplomat who serves as state councillor, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
Yachi will also go to Mongolia after his visit to Beijing, Suga added.
The government said the trip by Yachi, formerly a top career diplomat, is part of routine work to build ties with his counterparts around the world.
Yachi "regularly visits foreign countries under the prime minister's orders to meet with his counterparts to build relations," Suga told a press briefing. "This trip to China and Mongolia will be part of that," he said.
Local media is rife with speculation that he is going there to pave the way for a possible visit to China by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for what would be his third talks with President Xi Jinping.
The two conservative leaders met in November 2014 for the first time and in April this year – both on the sidelines of international meetings.
Strains over territorial disputes and attitudes towards wartime history continue to divide Asia's top economies.
But Abe and Xi are seen as gradually warming up to each other to foster better ties, particularly economic relations.
Abe is considering travelling to China around the time of a September 3 ceremony in Beijing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Nikkei daily and the Mainichi Shimbun said over the past weekend.
China officially invited Abe to attend the event marking Beijing's victory in what it calls the war of resistance against Japanese aggression, but it has yet to receive a response, Kyodo News reported. – Rappler.com