Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

One-on-one Xi-Abe meeting uncertain

By Wang Ping (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-05 07:54

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members will meet in Beijing from Nov 5 to 11 to discuss the future of APEC and the overall development of the Asia-Pacific region. But apart from trade and economics, the APEC meeting will also see diplomacy in full play.

Given this fact, should we expect a one-on-one between President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the APEC meeting? The answer is uncertain because, as Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Oct 29, the problems facing China-Japan ties are facts that cannot be ignored.

Despite enjoying rapid economic growth, the Asia-Pacific region is far from being an integral whole with a shared destiny, because of the political differences and territorial disputes among the regional powers. This situation, regional countries should realize, is not beneficial to pan-Pacific countries, including China and Japan.

Confronted with the containment policies of some Asia-Pacific countries, China, as a responsible regional power, is expected to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough at the APEC meeting. For one, China believes in using diplomacy to resolve even the most difficult bilateral, regional or global issue. And that is precisely why it can only condemn the online slogans such as "Abe not welcome at APEC meeting". There is no reason why Abe should not attend the APEC meeting.

Radical nationalism, marked by "anti-China" rhetoric, has made inroads into Japan in recent years. Abe was sworn in as Japan's prime minister for the second time in December 2012, and since then Japan has supported an increasing number of US-led "China-containment" policies; it even "nationalized" China's Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku Islands in Japan), escalating the bilateral dispute.

Worse, apart from denying Japan's militarist past and invasion of China before and during World War II, Abe has also supported countries such as the Philippines in their territorial disputes with China. And by calling for an official meeting with Chinese leaders after souring Sino-Japan ties, Abe has confused many observers with his diplomatic tricks.

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