China: Iijima’s report of Abe-Xi summit ‘fabricated’

Kyodo

Beijing has no plan to hold a summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the near future, the China Daily reported Tuesday, citing a Chinese government official who dismissed recent remarks by a close Abe adviser on a possible summit as “fabricated.”

“What (Isao) Iijima told reporters on Sunday is not true and is fabricated, based on the needs of Japan’s domestic politics,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying by the official English-language newspaper in a front-page article.

On Sunday, Iijima said he believes Abe and Xi could hold a summit “in the not-so-distant future,” after having discussed that possibility with people close to the Chinese president during his four-day visit in Beijing through July 16.

But the official quoted by the China Daily said Iijima did not meet any Chinese government officials during his visit and there was no consultation between the two sides on a leaders’ meeting.

He added that Abe’s repeated proposals to restart high-level political dialogue with Beijing without any conditions attached are seen as unreal, as Tokyo does not “face up to reality and start serious consultations” over a group of disputed islets in the East China Sea.

The newspaper said Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki’s two-day visit to Beijing from Monday is also not aimed at arranging a bilateral summit.

It said China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, and Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin are instead “expected to raise the Diaoyu Islands issue” during their talks with Saiki. The uninhabited islets are known as the Senkakus in Japan, which effectively controls them.

On Tuesday, the Global Times, another official English-language daily, ran an editorial titled “Saiki’s visit hints no real change,” in which it said: “As Sino-Japanese relations remain tense, it is essential for the two to stay in diplomatic contact. But leadership meetings will be unnecessary in the short term.”