• Kyodo

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China has requested that Japan push back Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s planned trip to the country late in October by a day or two, Japanese government sources said Tuesday.

Abe was originally scheduled to make a three-day visit to China from Oct. 23, when the two countries celebrate the 40th anniversary of the enactment of a bilateral peace and friendship treaty.

But Beijing has asked Tokyo to change the plan through diplomatic channels, citing “inconvenience” in the schedule but without providing clear reasons, the sources said.

The central government is now arranging for Abe to fly to China on Oct. 24 or 25 and stay until Oct. 27, the sources added.

The government was planning to convene the extraordinary Diet session on Oct. 26, but because of the schedule change for Abe’s trip to China it is now considering doing so two days earlier, according to the sources.

Japan sees the planned visit to China as an opportunity to improve bilateral ties, which have sometimes chilled due to disputes over the sovereignty of a group of islets in the East China Sea and wartime history.

During his trip, Abe hopes to hold bilateral talks with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

Abe will be the first prime minister in around seven years to travel to China for the primary purpose of holding formal talks with Chinese leaders.

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