Aso’s take on Wen, Hu in Beijing revealed by leaks

by Masami Ito

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was “very tired and seemed under a lot of pressure,” in the eyes of former Prime Minister Taro Aso when they met in Beijing in April 2009, according to a classified cable exposed by WikiLeaks.

The cable showed that Kunio Umeda, then deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, reported Aso’s impression of Wen and Chinese President Hu Jintao at a Group of Five ambassadors’ meeting in the Chinese capital attended by representatives from Japan, the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

According to the document, Umeda reported that Aso attributed his description of Wen to the fallout from the global economic crisis, while President Hu Jintao seemed “confident and relaxed.”

The classified transmission between the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the State Department was dated May 2009, soon after Aso’s visit to China. Umeda was likely at the April 29-30 meetings.

The document also mentioned that Aso asked Beijing not to require compulsory certification of IT products in China but that Wen “insisted the law was consistent with China’s WTO commitments.”