China to host trilateral summit with Japan, South Korea on Dec. 24

The Japan Times

BEIJING โ€“ China will host a trilateral summit with Japan and South Korea on Dec. 24 in the country's southern city of Chengdu, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, with ties between Tokyo and Seoul strained over compensation for wartime labor, trade and security issues. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are scheduled to get together, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing. The three are likely to exchange views on regional security matters, as North Korea continues provocations such as test-firings of what appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles amid stalled denuclearization negotiations with the United States. Abe has announced that he is planning to visit China for three days from Dec. 23. During the visit, he is expected to have bilateral talks with Moon on Dec. 24, a diplomatic source said.

Abe eager to invite Xi as state guest despite some opposition from conservative lawmakers

The Japan Times

CHENGDU, CHINA โ€“ Prime Minister Shinzo Abe voiced eagerness on Tuesday to host Chinese President Xi Jinping for a state visit, despite some conservative lawmakers opposing the plan due largely to the lingering political unrest in Hong Kong. "Japan and China have a responsibility for peace and stability in this region and the world," Abe said at a news conference in Chengdu, China, following a trilateral summit in the city that also included South Korea. Xi's envisioned visit to Japan next spring "would be a good chance to show the responsibility of Japan and China," Abe added. Touching on the situations in Hong Kong and the far-western Xinjiang region, where Beijing has been accused of violating the human rights of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, Abe called on China to find solutions "through dialogue." In Hong Kong, large-scale demonstrations calling for democratic reform have continued unabated, but Beijing has shown little sign of acceding to demands by pro-democracy protesters.

China's biggest North Korea taboo: Discussing life after Kim

The Japan Times

HONG KONG โ€“ In discussions between the U.S. and China about reining in North Korea, one topic remains taboo: What would happen if Kim Jong Un's regime collapses? For years, China has rebuffed U.S. attempts to raise the topic at so-called Track 2 dialogue sessions between academics in each country's foreign policy establishment, according to Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, who has led the U.S. side in such talks. Attendees included people from Chinese government-affiliated research institutions and military officers, she said. From China's perspective, officially broaching the issue could alarm its neighbor, which has received Beijing's backing since the Korean War in the 1950s. There's also a fear that it would give the U.S. an advantage in one day reunifying the Korean Peninsula on its terms.

Motegi vows to broach issues with China ahead of Xi Jinping's Japan visit

The Japan Times

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Monday vowed to tackle "outstanding issues" between Japan and China to clear the way for a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled for this spring. Both countries "share a great responsibility to ensure the peace and prosperity of Asia and the world," Motegi said in a speech laying out the government's foreign policy at the start of this year's regular Diet session. As such, Tokyo and Beijing should hold regular high-level dialogue and step up exchanges and cooperation in various fields, he said. Motegi's speech came amid opposition to Xi's state visit by some conservative Japanese lawmakers who believe it could send the wrong message amid an ongoing bilateral territorial dispute in the East China Sea as well as human rights concerns in Hong Kong and the far-western Xinjiang region. Visiting as a state guest, Xi will have an audience with Emperor Naruhito and a banquet at the Imperial Palace.

Obama, Putin, agree to continue seeking deal on Syria

Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to U.S. President Barack Obama in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to U.S. President Barack Obama in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. A sit-down between Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also laid bare the NATO allies' diverging interests in Syria, with Erdogan pointedly challenging Obama on U.S. support for Kurds fighting the Islamic State group in Syria.