Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to hold talks by telephone on Friday, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, as Japan’s new leader makes his first forays into diplomacy.
The softly spoken Suga has little diplomatic experience and has taken office at a time of rising tensions between the United States and China. As well as planning his first discussion with Xi for this week, he also spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday.
Japan and China have their own tensions over long-time issues including a territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea.
Talks between Suga and Xi are aimed at expanding ties between the two countries, Kyodo news agency reported citing unnamed government sources. The leaders are also expected to discuss Xi’s state visit to Japan which was postponed earlier this year due to coronavirus, the news agency said.
Japan’s first new leader in nearly eight years also plans to phone South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in on Thursday morning, Fuji Network News reported.
Suga and Moon are not expected to discuss thorny issues such as disputes over Koreans forced to work for wartime Japanese firms and technology export controls imposed by Japan, FNN reported citing unnamed government sources.
Relations between Japan and South Korea were strained during the tenure of Suga’s predecessor Shinzo Abe.