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China, Japan to discuss resuming ruling party talks after hiatus, NHK reports

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TOKYO >> A senior Chinese Communist Party official plans to visit Tokyo this month to meet with leaders from Japan’s ruling parties and discuss resuming regular talks between the parties for the first time since 2018, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Wednesday.

Arrangements are being made for Liu Jianchao, who leads the Communist Party’s body in charge of managing ties with foreign political parties, to travel to Japan for a meeting on May 29, NHK reported citing sources.

He will talk with the Liberal Democratic Party’s Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi and Natsuo Yamaguchi, the chief representative of its junior coalition party Komeito, among others.

They are expected to discuss the resumption of consultative meetings between senior officials of the two countries’ governing parties which used to held around once a year but have not taken place since 2018, the broadcaster said.

Representatives for the LDP and Komeito declined comment. The CCP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ties between Asia’s top two economies have been strained by issues including Tokyo’s concerns about China’s maritime activities in the East and South China Seas, and Beijing’s protests against Japan’s release of treated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.

Liu’s visit is set to come on the heels of a planned trilateral summit between political leaders from China, Japan and South Korea expected to take place in South Korea early next week – the first such summit since 2019.

Liu has kept a busy schedule since taking up his post in 2022, meeting with officials from more than 120 countries including holding talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington this year. That has stoked expectations that the former ambassador and ministry spokesman is being groomed to be China’s next foreign minister.

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