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to attend the event. Are China and Japan on the road to better relations? It’s complicated As Beiji

Time:2018-03-26 07:07Shoes websites Click:

news China Diplomacy Defence Belt and Road Initiative China-Japan relations

Japan may soon become more involved in China’s multibillion-dollar belt and road plan, with the two countries expected to begin exploring business cooperation deals in third countries, according to diplomatic and trade sources.

Faced with uncertainty over the global leadership role of traditional ally America under Donald Trump, Japan has gone from wariness towards the “Belt and Road Initiative” – Beijing’s strategy to boost infrastructure and trade links with nations from Asia to Africa – to slowly warming to the idea of taking part in it.

One of the first signs Tokyo was starting to embrace President Xi Jinping’s trademark initiative came at a summit hosted by Beijing in May to promote it, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sending a top leader from his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Toshihiro Nikai, to attend the event.

Are China and Japan on the road to better relations? It’s complicated

As Beijing and Tokyo move towards a rapprochement after years of deadlock over territorial and historical disputes, the initiative will likely be on the agenda if a possible Japan visit by Premier Li Keqiang goes ahead this year, a diplomat with knowledge of the discussions said.

 to attend the event. Are China and Japan on the road to better relations? It’s complicated As Beijing and Tokyo move towards a rapprochement after years of deadlock over territorial and historical disputes

Tokyo plans to invite Li for a bilateral visit to coincide with a delayed trilateral summit between China, Japan and South Korea that is expected to be held in spring, the diplomat said.

“But nothing is fixed yet – we’re still discussing the possibility of such a meeting,” he said.

“Prime Minister Abe’s expression of interest in the [belt and road plan] seems to be one of the major factors that has led to the improvement of bilateral relations,” the diplomat said. “The Chinese side also expressed a strong desire for Japan to get involved in [the initiative] during Foreign Minister [Taro] Kono’s visit in January.”

One possibility for Japan’s involvement in the belt and road plan was business tie-ups with China in third countries under Tokyo’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy, the diplomat said, adding that Japanese officials had indicated they would approach discussion of these projects on a case-by-case basis.

 to attend the event. Are China and Japan on the road to better relations? It’s complicated As Beijing and Tokyo move towards a rapprochement after years of deadlock over territorial and historical disputes

The Yomiuri newspaper reported in late December that Tokyo was considering inviting China to join “Japanese-funded projects in Africa” including the Growth Ring project – 4,200km of road links that will bring development to Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin and western Nigeria – and the “international corridor” linking cities in Cameroon with the Republic of Congo.

Takeo Donoue, director general of the Japan External Trade Organisation’s Beijing office, said Japanese firms were exploring the possibility of taking part in the initiative, particularly energy, environment and industrial park projects in Southeast Asia.

“Since last year, the Japanese government started studying the Belt and Road Initiative and the senior leadership began paying attention [to potential belt and road projects],” said Donoue, whose organisation is affiliated with the Japanese government.

Donoue, a former trade minister at the Japanese embassy in Beijing, said the recent thawing in relations between the two countries had boosted companies’ confidence about investing more in China, but there were still concerns over the Chinese trade initiative.

“But the Japanese companies are still concerned about the protection of intellectual property as well as the financing and distribution of profits of the projects. There is also a lack of an overall framework for what kinds of projects the two countries should cooperate on,” he said, adding that he expected more in-depth discussion between the two governments on these issues.

What could be worse than belt and road? A copy of belt and road

For many industrialised governments, the diplomat said, a big concern was that there is no centralised agency coordinating the belt and road projects.

“There is the NDRC [National Development and Reform Commission], the commerce ministry, the foreign ministry and the AIIB [Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank]. We don’t know who is taking the lead,” the diplomat said.

He added that an even bigger concern, which is often raised by Western countries, was Beijing’s geopolitical intentions behind the sprawling trade and investment strategy that spans 60-plus countries across four continents – particularly China’s control over a strategic port in Sri Lanka.

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