26 Jun 2019
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be meeting once again during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, marking the first to the country visit by a Chinese President since 2010. The two have last met in November 2014.
China and Japan have had tensions between them long before the two current authorises came to power due to disputes over control of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. However, Jinping and Abe might have to come together and form a better relationship in order to have a fair chance when opposing Trump’s power in the US. Economic interdependence and a need to focus on the future should be the main reasons for Xi and Abe to work together, according to analysts. Victor Teo, an assistant professor in the Department of Japanese Studies at the University of Hong Kong noted the strength of the US, stating ; ‘The greatest impetus for warming Sino-Japanese relations is their realization that China and Japan need to cooperate with each other more closely in the face of their changing relations with the United States.’
Despite Japan having been an ally to the US in previous times, Trump’s rational ways to prioritise America concern Abe. Japan, however, has not been included in the tariff set for China’s imports, especially due to the economic ties between Japan and the US.
Analysts note that whilst being rivals for political and economic influence in the Asia-Pacific region, Xi and Abe understand that their union would be of a greater good. Former Chinese commerce minister, Chen Deming stated that their ‘relations are back on a normal track’ last month, during a speech in Tokyo. China and Japan have worked together last year for China’s massive Belt and Road infrastructure project and the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), being described as ‘a really important development’ by Japan politics expert Brad Glosserman.
Japan’s Abe will also be acting as an intermediary for the US and Iran, in hope to find a common ground and reach an agreement. Having already met Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran in June, and having had the peace-making offer turned down, Abe may be looking to propose another offer to help the two sides.