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Dim prospects for Japan's talks with China, S. Korea

Publication Date : 08-01-2014

 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces an uphill battle on the diplomatic front, and will likely struggle to find a way to improve Chinese and South Korean relations, which have deteriorated significantly since Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine last month.

At Monday’s press conference, Abe expressed willingness to promote his “proactive contribution to peace” policy, saying, “Japan will play a more proactive role in the international community for the peace and stability of the world, hand-in-hand with our international partners.”

One place Japan can demonstrate its presence to the international community is the UN Security Council. As Japan plans to campaign for a nonpermanent seat in 2015, the Abe administration is expected to make serious efforts to obtain support from the international community this year. On Thursday, Abe will begin a seven-day trip to Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Ethiopia with an aim of gaining support of Africa, which holds a number of votes. Abe will also visit Oman during the trip.

However, a dark cloud hangs over Abe’s Asian diplomacy, as prospects to hold summit meetings with the leaders of China and South Korea have dimmed since the Yasukuni visit.

“It is extremely important to seek dialogues with China and South Korea for the peace and stability of the region,” Abe said at the press conference.

However, he also said, “At this moment, there are no prospects to hold summit meetings [with China and South Korea].”

South Korean President Park Geun Hye expressed reservations on having one-on-one talks with Abe at a press conference Monday, saying, “Thorough preparations are necessary [before holding a summit meeting].”

On the same day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed the Chinese government’s will not to hold discussions with Japan on possible summit meetings.

 

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