China and Japan to Revive Ruling Party Dialogues Amidst Renewed Regional Cooperation

Last Updated on May 30, 2024 10:19 am

In a significant diplomatic move, China and Japan have agreed to restart regular talks between their ruling parties, ending a six-year hiatus. This decision, announced by Japanese coalition government officials on Wednesday, marks a potential thaw in the strained relations between Asia’s two largest economies.

The announcement follows a landmark three-way summit held on Monday between the leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea—the first such meeting in four years. Chinese Premier Li Qiang hailed this summit as a “restart in relations” with US-allied Japan and South Korea, emphasizing the need for renewed trade and security dialogues amid global tensions.

The agreement to resume the ruling party talks was reached during the visit of Liu Jianchao, head of the Communist Party’s international liaison department, to Tokyo. Liu met with Toshimitsu Motegi, secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who welcomed the proposal to revive the Japan-China ruling party exchange council. “Secretary-General Motegi expressed his approval,” stated Tatsuya Ito, an LDP lawmaker present at the meeting.

Makoto Nishida, representing the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito, also confirmed the decision. While specific details regarding the schedule and format of the talks are yet to be finalized, the agreement marks a significant step toward rebuilding bilateral ties.

The resumption of these dialogues comes at a critical juncture, as both nations navigate complex geopolitical landscapes. Japan has expressed concerns over China’s maritime activities in the East and South China Seas, while China has criticized Japan’s discharge of treated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.

Despite these challenges, the agreement signals a mutual recognition of the importance of maintaining open lines of communication. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who also met with Liu, emphasized the necessity of stable and constructive ties with China. “Exchanges between political parties are important for developing relations,” Kishida reiterated.

Liu Jianchao, who has been notably active since taking office in 2022 and is speculated to be a candidate for China’s next foreign minister, has maintained a busy diplomatic schedule. His engagements in Tokyo, which included meetings with Japan’s prime minister and foreign minister, underscore the significance Beijing places on improving bilateral relations.

This diplomatic revival reflects a broader trend of regional cooperation, as China, Japan, and South Korea seek to navigate global uncertainties through enhanced dialogue and collaboration. The forthcoming ruling party talks, last held in 2018, are expected to play a pivotal role in this renewed effort to stabilize and strengthen intergovernmental ties.

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