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As China's next ambassador in Tokyo, Kong Xuanyou, left, will pave the way for President Xi Jinping to visit Japan, possibly twice, this year. (Nikkei montage/Reuters)
China up close

China's 'Japan hands' make comeback as US ties wilt

Newly appointed Tokyo ambassador puts Rolodex in motion for Xi visit preparation

KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writer | China

TOKYO -- China has decided to appoint top Japan expert Kong Xuanyou, currently the vice foreign minister, as its new ambassador to Tokyo as it seeks to improve bilateral relations amid its protracted trade war with the U.S.

China has already informed the Japanese government of the decision. Kong, 59, will arrive in Tokyo to take up the role as early as May, replacing Cheng Yonghua, 64, who has served as China's top envoy in Japan for a record nine years.

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