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International Relations

Japan's Abe plans October visit to China

Tokyo envisions a reciprocal trip by Xi next June

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe first needs to win his party leadership race in September. (Photo by Shinya Sawai)

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is making plans to visit China in October, sources told Nikkei on Wednesday.

The intended trip provides another signal of warming relations between the two Asian nations, and the timing coincides with the 40th anniversary of their peace treaty.

But any visit depends on Abe winning re-election in the September leadership race of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, as well as on the Chinese side's willingness to meet.

The prime minister has repeatedly expressed his desire to visit China by year-end. The potential October trip could be separate from a three-way summit with South Korea expected to take place in Beijing within the year.

A visit to China by Abe outside of a multilateral gathering would be the first by a Japanese prime minister since Yoshihiko Noda in December 2011.

Japanese government sources say Beijing has yet to inform Tokyo and Seoul of suggested dates for the trilateral summit, which would be attended by Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The Abe government hopes that a trip in October would pave the way for a reciprocal visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan next June that would coincide with the Group of 20 nations summit in Osaka.

The Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship took effect on Oct. 23, 1978, with the state visit of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to Japan. The treaty put in writing mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as mutual nonaggression and noninterference in each other's internal affairs.

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