China’s often controversial Foreign Minister Wang Yi invited his Japanese opposite number, Toshimitsu Motegi, to visit China in 2021, at a meeting the pair attended in Tokyo held month.
Sources in Japan have overnight revealed the invitation was made as Beijing makes efforts to try and improve relations with the economic giant next door.
In recent months, however, China has repeatedly irked authorities in Japan with almost daily intrusions into waters around Japan’s Senkaku Islands; unpopulated islets in the extreme south of Japan also claimed by China and Taiwan.
It is understood that Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is now at least considering the request; a somewhat surprising move in light of comments by Wang at the time the pair last met on November 24th on the subject of the Senkakus which did not go down well with a public in Japan largely wary of China.
Foreign Minister Motegi has reportedly sent a non-committal, but polite response to Beijing.
The November meeting did produce a much sought after concession in business terms between the two nations though, with trips in both directions now not requiring a 14 day quarantine period so common elsewhere because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Analysts will no double see the revelation that an olive branch was offered by China as an attempt by Beijing to curry favour with Tokyo at a time of increasing tensions with Taiwan, long deemed an unofficial ally of sorts of the ruling LDP, as well as needing improved relations with the world’s third largest economy at the same time it continues trade battles with the largest – the USA.