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International relations

No handshakes: China plays down meeting with Japan security adviser

Beijing values talks but seeks to avoid public backlash

Japanese national security adviser Takeo Akiba, left, and Chinese top diplomat Yang Jiechi talked for seven hours but did not shake hands for a photo op.    © Kyodo

TOKYO -- From the absence of flags to a delayed statement, the unconventional meeting between two top-level Japanese and Chinese officials last week highlighted the challenge both countries face in trying to deepen bilateral ties without inflaming public opinion. 

Japanese national security adviser Takeo Akiba flew on a chartered plane to Tianjin early Wednesday morning to meet with Chinese top diplomat Yang Jiechi. The unusual arrangement for somebody in his position was because of limited commercial service to the city amid the pandemic and the need to maintain a travel bubble.

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