Japan’s top diplomat heads for China seeking better ties | Reuters

Reuters: “Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki will visit China on Monday and Tuesday for talks with senior officials, the latest in a series of efforts by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to improve relations soured by a bitter territorial row.

Japan's chief envoy to the six-party talks Akitaka Saiki arrives at Beijing airport November 30, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The hawkish Abe, who cemented his grip on power in an upper house election last week, called on Friday for an unconditional meeting between Japanese and Chinese leaders.

On Sunday, Isao Iijima, an adviser to the premier, told reporters that Abe could soon hold a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Often fragile Sino-Japanese ties have been seriously strained since September, when a territorial row over tiny islands in the East China Sea flared following Japan’s nationalization of the uninhabited isles.

Concern that the conservative Japanese leader wants to recast Japan’s wartime history with a less apologetic tone has added to the tension.

“Vice Minister Saiki will visit China on July 29-30 and exchange views with Chinese officials,” a Japanese foreign ministry spokesman said. He did not give further details.

China’s Foreign Ministry responded to Abe’s overture on Friday by saying its door was always open for talks but that the problem lay in Japan’s attitude.”

via Japan’s top diplomat heads for China seeking better ties | Reuters.

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