China of­fi­cial to visit Ja­pan in sign of has­ten­ing thaw af­ter 3-year row

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

A se­nior of­fi­cial from China’s Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress (NPC) will be in Tokyo this week, Ja­pan’s lower house said Mon­day, the high­est-pro­file Chi­nese vis­i­tor since 2012 as a thaw in re­la­tions sets in.

Ji Bingx­uan, a vice-chair­man of the NPC Stand­ing Com­mit­tee, will lead a del­e­ga­tion from the Chi­nese par­lia­ment from Wed­nes­day through Satur­day, a par­lia­men­tary spokes­woman said.

The visit is the lat­est sign that re­la­tions be­tween Asia’s two big­gest pow­ers are get­ting back on an even keel af­ter three years of squab­bling over their bit­ter shared his­tory and the own­er­ship of dis­puted is­lands.

Ja­pan and China held se­cu­rity talks last month, their first such dia­logue since Jan­uary 2011.

Tokyo and Bei­jing are at log­ger­heads over the sovereignty of an is­land chain in the East China Sea that Ja­pan ad­min­is­ters as the Senkakus, but China claims as the Diaoyus.

Re­la­tions soured in 2012 when the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment na­tion­al­ized some of the is­lands.

Bei­jing sub­se­quently halted most high-level con­tacts with Tokyo, and ships and planes from the two sides have shadow-boxed in the area ever since.

The diplo­matic ice was bro­ken last Novem­ber when Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping shared a frosty hand­shake on the side­lines of the Asi­aPa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion fo­rum.

This week’s del­e­ga­tion was in­vited by Ja­pan’s House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the lower house of par­lia­ment.

Ji is ex­pected to hold talks with lower house speaker Nobu­taka Machimura dur­ing the stay, the spokes­woman said.

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