Japanese, Chinese foreign ministers seek win-wins despite regional tensions

Japanese, Chinese foreign ministers seek win-wins despite regional tensions

Japan’s foreign minister will travel to Beijing today in a bid to improve a historically troubled relationship. Sino-Japanese relations have

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Photo: AP

Japan’s foreign minister will travel to Beijing today in a bid to improve a historically troubled relationship.

Sino-Japanese relations have been marred by a deep rivalry, which has its roots in Japan’s pre-WW2 imperial expansion and has been exacerbated by other recent territorial disputes. Both countries today are vying for regional influence through the construction of infrastructure across the continent.

Despite their rivalry, these two Asian economic powerhouses boast one of the world’s most valuable trading partnerships, currently worth some $350 billion a year.

Last year, both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed enthusiasm for a “fresh start“. To that end, Tokyo gave its cautious support to China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative last month. Now that relations are warming, Japanese manufacturing businesses have also taken an interest.

Although the forecast is optimistic, if relations were to suddenly sour, these businesses could be harmed through government sanctions and nationalist protests. Expect Tokyo and Beijing to avoid this by building upon their relationship through further deals, such as a free-trade agreement between themselves and South Korea.

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