World / Asia-Pacific

Abe's motive in cabinet shuffle unclear

By Wang Xu ( Updated: 2014-09-03 21:21

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled the cabinet and made China-friendly appointments in top party posts on Wednesday, possibly signaling a desire to thaw chilly relations with Beijing, Reuters reported.

It was an apparent signal that Abe hoped to improve ties and arrange a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the report said.

"Japan and China both have a responsibility for international peace and prosperity. It is vital to develop a forward-looking, cooperative relationship on common issues confronting international society," said Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary.

Chinese observers, however, saw Abe's move in a different light.

Liang Yunxiang, a professor of international studies at Peking University, said that what Abe wants mainly is not a thaw with China but a united Liberal Democratic Party to promote his strategy and win reelection next year.

Sadakazu Tanigaki, 69 and Toshihiro Nikai, 75, two veteran lawmakers believed to be friendly with China, were appointed to key party posts by Abe.

Liang said that Abe's retention of core cabinet members, including Suga, finance minister Taro Aso and foreign minister Fumio Kishida, signaled a continuation of existing policy.

"Tanigaki could not be regarded as friendly to China,"said Liu Jiangyong, a professor of international studies at Tsinghua University. "He visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which outraged China during his presidency, when he was party head from 2009 to 2012."

Liu also appealed for a balanced view of Sino-Japan relations.

"Everybody knows about the tensions between China and Japan," he said. "But that's no reason that every political movement in Japan has to be seen as something to do with China."

Wednesday's cabinet reshuffle was the first adjustment of party posts by Abe in the 20 months since he surged back into office.

Meanwhile, a November APEC summit of leaders from Asia-Pacific countries is just around the corner in Beijing. Abe has signaled his hope to meet Xi. China has signaled that Japanese sincerity is an essential prerequisite to mending relations.

Trudeau visits Sina Weibo
May gets little gasp as EU extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks
Ethiopian FM urges strengthened Ethiopia-China ties
Yemen's ex-president Saleh, relatives killed by Houthis
Most Popular
Hot Topics