Japan Foreign Minister Hayashi eyes talks with China counterpart

Yomiuri Shimbun file photos
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is planning to hold talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of meetings related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to be held in Cambodia early next month, government sources said.

With the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries approaching in September, Hayashi aims to confirm with Wang, who also serves as a Chinese state councilor, the importance of communications between Tokyo and Beijing.

If the talks come to fruition, it would be the first Japan-China foreign ministerial meeting since November 2020.

Diplomatic relations were normalized on Sept. 29, 1972 when then Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai signed a joint communique in Beijing.

But bilateral relations are currently tense due to such factors as the repeated intrusion of China Coast Guard vessels into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands. “It’s important for the two countries to deepen communications with the aim of resolving pending issues,” a senior Japanese government official said,

Aug. 4 has been tentatively earmarked for the talks.

It is thought Hayashi will convey Japan’s concerns over China’s attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion in such areas as the East China Sea, and Beijing’s diplomatic stance over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The two foreign ministers are also expected to discuss the state funeral of the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japan is also hoping to arrange three-way foreign ministerial talks with the United States and Australia, and two-way dialogue with South Korea, among other meetings.