Tokyo, Nov 14 (EFE).- The Japanese government confirmed on Monday that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida would hold a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday in Bangkok, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum’s summit.
This will be the first meeting between the two leaders in three years and comes at a time of heightened tensions between the neighboring countries over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, controlled by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing, and China’s growing pressure against Taiwan.
Confirming the meeting, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno acknowledged that there are “many issues and concerns” between Japan and China but added that it is important for both countries to try and build a “constructive and stable” relationship.
Matsuno further insisted that Japan will “assert what needs to be asserted” and continue discussion on pending issues and cooperate on common matters.
Japan is critical of China’s growing influence and military presence in the Indo-Pacific, especially Chinese ships entering waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku archipelago.
The latest reproach came on Sunday, when Kishida criticized Beijing’s activities at a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), saying they “had been continuing and intensifying in the East China Sea.”
Kishida also mentioned Beijing’s hardening stance towards Taiwan after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island in summer of 2022. He added that this is a matter that “directly impacts” Japan’s security, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
China and Taiwan have been governed separately since 1949 due to a civil war, but Beijing considers the island to be a rebel province that must reunite with the mainland – by force if necessary – and saw Pelosi’s visit as a provocation.
The meeting between Kishida and Xi will take place on the sidelines of APEC’s global leaders’ summit in Bangkok, after both leaders attend the G20 Summit at the Indonesian island of Bali until Wednesday.
Moreover, it would take place soon after the high-profile encounter between Xi and US President Joe Biden – set to kick off later on Monday – with Tokyo hoping for a favorable outcome.
Matsuno said that it is important for the international community that stable relations be established between Washington and Beijing. EFE