BEIJING – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his planned visit to China later this month, Vice President Wang Qishan said Friday.
The remark by Wang, known as a close aide to Xi, came during a meeting in Beijing with Shigeru Kitamura, a former top intelligence officer who has served as Abe’s national security adviser since September.
Abe is scheduled to visit China for three days from Dec. 23 to hold a trilateral summit with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae In.
Later Friday, Kitamura, who is making his first trip to China since he assumed his current post, met with Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign policy official and a member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee.
At their first talks, Kitamura and Yang are believed to have worked on details of Xi’s planned state visit to Japan next spring.
At the outset of the meeting, Yang said, “We would like to support sustainable and stable development of bilateral relations,” to which Kitamura responded by saying, “Momentum for friendship between Japan and China has become extremely strong.”
Before Xi’s envisioned travel, Yang is expected to visit Japan for talks with Kitamura.
Shotaro Yachi, Kitamura’s predecessor, built relations of trust with Yang and contributed to improving Sino-Japanese ties, which had soured after Tokyo decided in 2012 to bring the disputed but uninhabited Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea under state control. China calls them the Diaoyu and Taiwan claims them as Tiaoyutai.
A source familiar with China-Japan relations said Yang has been eager to maintain dialogue with Kitamura, secretary-general of the National Security Secretariat.