02 September 2016
The interaction – or lack of it – between President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abeat the summit meeting of the Group of Twenty leading nations and economies in Hangzhou will be closely watched.
Both nations have been carefully assessing the state of bilateral ties and calculating whether the two leaders should meet on the sidelines of the summit, as they did at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing two years ago. That occasion was marked by a frosty handshake, followed by a vow to remove obstacles impeding Sino-Japanese ties.
As host, it is almost diplomatic protocol for Xi to meet leaders attending the event, and especially so in the case of the leader of Japan, one of China’s key neighbours. Both sides are also aware that such talks are essential if they hope to contain confrontations over territorial and historical disputes. However, it is also unlikely the two leaders would reach a consensus on anything and there’s always the risk a meeting could end up with each side blaming the other for recent tensions.
… Bhubhindar Singh, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said the tensions in the South and East China seas would definitely influence the atmosphere at any meeting between Xi and Abe, with two leaders appearing to have won domestic support for get-tough stances towards each other.
“I think President Xi would again have to express China’s opposition towards Japan’s position,” Singh said. “He’s probably again going to appear very strong in support of China’s stance.
“I think they will probably meet on the sidelines, but I don’t think any improvement is expected.”
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 02/09/2016