Abe sets off for official visit to China

Shinzo Abe attends at the ASEM leaders summit in Brussels Belgium Friday. Francois Lenoir, Reuters

Shinzo Abe attends at the ASEM leaders summit in Brussels Belgium Friday. Francois Lenoir, Reuters

Six years ago, angry demonstrators filled the streets in dozens of Chinese cities to protest Japan's claim to islands in the East China Sea, surrounding Tokyo's embassy, overturning Japanese cars and in some cases even attacking sushi restaurants. China is now the world's second largest economy and Japan the third.

Analysts say the optics of Abe's three-day visit will be more important than the concrete outcomes, which are likely to be modest.

On the Taiwan issue, Abe reaffirmed Japan's adherence to its position stated in the 1972 Japan-China Joint Statement.

Gui Yongtao, an associate professor at Peking University's School of International Studies and a specialist in Chinese-Japanese relations, said: "We haven't solved our problems with Japan". He is expected to hold summit meetings with Li and President Xi on Friday.

Jin Jianmin, a senior fellow at Fujitsu Research Institute in Tokyo, said that with China's fast economic development, the respective advantages of the industries and technologies of the two countries become clearer, and the foundation of win-win cooperation become more solid. At the forum, Abe took the opportunity to once again emphasize the need to follow global standards for infrastructure projects and to take into account the financial position of recipient countries.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Japan on October 28-29, just after Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returns home from China.

Japan and the United States economies account for about 30 percent of worldwide Gross Domestic Product.

While anxious about China's growing naval power, Japan is also keen for closer economic ties with its biggest trading partner, but it must manage that rapprochement without upsetting its key security ally, the US.

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He said the foremost of these would be how to leverage Japan as a development aid partner for India's economic modernisation and flagship development programmes such as Skill India, Make in India, and Digital India, as also the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project.

Mr Abe heads to Beijing this week to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a peace-and-friendship treaty between the Asian powerhouses, which have a long history of bad blood due in part to Japan's colonial invasions of China and atrocities committed during World War II.

"Coordination and cooperation between China and Japan will help curb trade protectionism in the world while providing a stable and predictable policy environment for cooperation between enterprises", said Jin.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who travelled to Japan in May, greeted Mr Abe at Beijing's Great Hall of the People following his arrival on Thursday.

Abe, who has been accompanied on his visit by a 500-strong business delegation, expressed hopes for closer ties and a shift in relations from "competition to cooperation", an apparent reference to the rifts that until recently have muted Japanese business interests in China.

The historical rivals have been drawn closer together under pressure from the United States to slash trade deficits.

"During this visit, I will have a chance to see some of Japan's high-tech capabilities in robotics". Mr. Abe said that Tokyo and Beijing will "fulfill responsibilities" for peace and stability in East Asia.

"We are also discussing a Japanese high-tech amphibian aircraft also and I hope there will be progress made in this regard (during the summit)", Hiramatsu said.

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