On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a highly-anticipated summit under the shadows of new and older tensions. Abe's October visit is the first time a Japanese leader has traveled to meet the Chinese president in Beijing in almost seven years illustrating an important thaw in Sino-Japanese relations, potentially motivated by concerning actions towards both countries by the United States.
While China braces for future escalation with the U.S. after tariff impositions, treaty withdrawals, and contentious naval relations, the U.S.-Japan relationship has been affected by increasing uncertainty. President Trump has made a number of comments urging the U.S.'s Asian allies to pay for their own defense costs, comments that leave countries like Japan concerned about a large-scale U.S. military pull-out from the Pacific. As both countries attempt to maneuver within their relations with the Western power, China and Japan find strong incentive to move past historical tensions for the possibility of future stability. Further, as explained by China-US Focus contributor Zhang Tuosheng earlier this month, "If and when the China-Japan relationship is on the track of sound and stable development, it will have a positive influence on China-U.S. relations."
In this week's journey to China, Prime Minister Abe was accompanied by nearly 500 Japanese businesspeople, a signal that both countries find the prospect of a bolstered trading relationship attractive. Japan has also agreed to sign an agreement with China, stating that the two neighbors should increase cooperation on various infrastructure projects in developing countries. The South China Morning Post noted that Abe's visit also included the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two nations.
Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China every week, while adding a dose of historical perspective.