From Comparative Connections (Center for Strategic & International Studies):
The April 11-13 visit of China’s Premier Wen Jiabao proved to be a public diplomacy success. Wen met with Prime Minster Abe, and, focusing on environmental cooperation, both leaders agreed to advance their strategic relationship. Wen addressed the Diet, a historic first; engaged early morning Tokyo joggers in conversation; and played catch with the Ritsumeikan University baseball team in Kyoto. Before his departure, Wen made clear that he considered his visit a success in strengthening bilateral relations. And, judging from the attention given to a mid-June meeting between President Hu Jintao and former Prime Minister Nakasone and members of the Japan-China Youth Friendship Association, so did his boss. In the run-up to the September Party Congress, the media suggested that Hu was running on a platform of improving relations with Japan. Success at public diplomacy, however, did not translate into success at the nuts and bolts level. Despite repeated high-level commitments to a resolution of the East China Sea issue, little progress was evident as the quarter drew to a close. And testing times, the 70th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in July and the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre in December loom on the horizon. [Full Text]
James J. Przystup is senior fellow of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at National Defense University.