Japan’s Suga, Xi plan to hold first phone call on Friday


TOKYO – Preparations have started to hold Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s first conference call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, Nikkei has learned.

The two leaders are expected to discuss issues such as cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus. They could also discuss Xi’s plans for a state visit to Japan, which was postponed until April due to the pandemic.

It would be the first conference call between Xi and a Japanese prime minister since May 2018.

In his first press conference after taking office on September 16, Suga said he aimed “to establish stable relations with neighboring countries, including China and Russia.”

Relations between Tokyo and Beijing have been strained by friction over the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, which China claims and calls the Diaoyu Islands. Chinese government ships have sounded the waters around islets in the East China Sea for months, sparking protests from the Japanese government.

China’s imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong has also strained Sino-Japanese relations.

During his successful campaign for the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Suga said he wanted “high level opportunities” to assert Japan’s positions on these issues.

Suga had his first phone conversation with US President Donald Trump on Sunday.

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