BEIJING (AP) — China’s top diplomat met Thursday with the head of Japan’s National Security Council for talks likely to touch on a possible summit between leaders of their countries later this year in Beijing.
The meeting between China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Shotaro Yachi, a career diplomat and a close aide to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, comes at delicate times for the relations between the neighboring Asian powers.
The two governments are at odds in a sovereignty dispute over potentially resource-rich islands in the Pacific, though there have been some halting steps toward easing tensions over the past year, with at least two brief encounters between Abe and China’s President Xi Jinping.
Adding to the animosity is what the Chinese see as Japan’s failure to sufficiently atone for the suffering it caused during World War II, a major theme in China as the 70th anniversary of the end of the war nears.
China has invited Abe to a military parade on Sept. 3 to mark the Japanese surrender in the Pacific. Abe has said that he is considering a visit either before or after the parade day.
Video journalist Aritz Parra contributed to this report.