Japan Foreign Chief Hayashi Planning to Visit China by Year-End

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi

Tokyo, Dec. 14 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is planning to visit China and have talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, by the end of this year at the earliest, it was learned Wednesday.

It will be the first trip to China by a Japanese foreign minister since December 2019, before Hayashi was appointed to the position.

The move comes after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a bilateral summit last month, agreeing that the two countries would keep in close contact, including at the summit level, and that they would coordinate for Hayashi’s visit to China.

Hayashi is expected to confirm with Wang the continuation of dialogue toward a “constructive and stable” Japan-China relationship, while discussing the situation around Taiwan and Beijing’s maritime expansion in the East China Sea.

Japan is on higher alert as Chinese coast guard ships are repeatedly intruding into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands, which are also claimed by China, and after a ballistic missile launched during a large-scale Chinese military drill landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone in August.

At the possible meeting with Wang, Hayashi is expected to maintain Tokyo’s position that it will continue dialogue with Beijing while asserting what it needs to assert, although there are issues and concerns between the two sides.

He is also expected to underline the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

The Japanese and Chinese foreign chiefs are expected to exchange their views on a plan to start promptly a hotline between their countries’ defense authorities, as well as on the easing of COVID-19 quarantine measures in China.

The meeting is also likely to cover Japan’s national security strategy, which Tokyo plans to revise soon.