China and Japan Move to Cool Down Diaoyu Dispute

China Daily reports on CCP general secretary Xi Jinping’s recent meeting with a Japanese envoy in Beijing, in which standing tensions over the Diaoyu Islands were indirectly addressed: Xi Jinping on Friday said China and Japan should address “sensitive” issues between the two countries effectively and in a timely manner. Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks as he met with Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the New Komeito party, on Friday morning. The New Komeito party is the smaller of Japan’s two ruling parties. Yamaguchi, who arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, is the first senior member of Japan’s ruling bloc to travel to China since the Japanese government announced it would “purchase” part of the Diaoyu Islands in September, a move that soured bilateral relations. “China’s stance on the Diaoyu Islands is consistent and clear,” Xi said, urging the Japanese side to respect history as well as reality and make joint efforts with China to seek effective methods for appropriately controlling and resolving problems through dialogue and consultation. While the China Daily report chose to quote Xi emphasizing consistency in China’s stance on the islands, New York Times coverage notes that the leader’s comments were soft when compared to previous official statements: China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, offered Japan a conciliatory tone during a meeting with a senior Japanese politician on Friday in an apparent effort to reduce the escalating tensions between the two countries over islands in the East China Sea. In some of his first remarks on China’s foreign policy since becoming secretary general of the Communist Party, Mr. Xi told the Japanese lawmaker, Natsuo Yamaguchi, “The Chinese government remains committed to China-Japan relations,” according to an account provided by China’s Foreign Ministry. Mr. Xi urged both sides to “look ...
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