BEIJING--New Komeito head Natsuo Yamaguchi met Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Jan. 25, seeking high-level talks between the two new leaders of their respective nations.
During their hour-long discussion, Yamaguchi handed Xi a letter from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe requesting a summit meeting between the two new heads of government.
“I will seriously consider a high-level dialogue," Xi responded. "To do so, arranging the proper environment is of vital importance.”
Yamaguchi is the first party leader in Japan’s ruling coalition that the Chinese Communist Party leader has met with since Xi became the party’s general secretary in November 2012.
According to Yamaguchi, Xi said he “wishes to pursue a strategic partnership of mutual benefit based on a broader perspective.”
As for the dispute over the Senkaku Islands, Xi was quoted as saying, “Even though the two countries view the issue differently, they need to make efforts to solve the problem by dialogue and discussion.”
“To directly face the history will lead to a better future,” Xi was also quoted as saying. “It requires cautious handling.”
Xi said at the beginning of the talks, “China-Japan relations are facing a special situation. I place high importance on the latest visit, which was made under such circumstances.”
Xi noted New Komeito’s contribution to the development of the bilateral relationship between China and Japan, adding, “We want to promote an exchange between political parties.”
Yamaguchi said he "could not have been more grateful to be able to meet with the general secretary four times,” alluding to three past meetings between the two.
“Daisuke Ikeda, honorary president of the Soka Gakkai (Japanese Buddhist organization that backs New Komeito), asked to send his kindest regards,” the New Komeito leader said.
Japan and China have not held top and foreign minister-level meetings since the Japanese government placed the Senkaku Islands, called Diaoyu in China, under national ownership in September 2012.
“General secretary Xi’s reception of our proposal for a leaders’ summit shows that he is enthusiastic about improving relations with Japan,” Yamaguchi said.
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