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English>>Foreign Affairs

Xi's invitation to Abe shows aspiration for peace: expert

(Global Times)    10:16, July 13, 2015
Chinese President Xi Jinping invited Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to participate in celebrations in Beijing this September to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1939-1945), deputy foreign minister Cheng Guoping said on Friday.

Abe under domestic, U.S. pressure over accepting invitation

Chinese President Xi Jinping's invitation to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to attend the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in Beijing in September demonstrates China's peaceful foreign policy, analysts said.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said on Friday at a press conference that China has extended an official invitation to Abe to attend the event marking victory in China's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, adding that no response has yet been received.

"It is not a surprise that China has offered this invitation to Abe since all the major powers will be invited to this anniversary, marking the victory over fascism. It also shows China is promoting a peaceful foreign policy," Liu Junhong, a research fellow specializing in Japanese studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

According to Asahi Shimbun, Abe is considering a fence-mending mission to China in early September. It would be a chance for Abe to hold a one-on-one talk with Xi to repair strained bilateral ties, according to the report.

A source was quoted as saying that Abe has shown interest in accepting the invitation, telling aides, "I didn't want to shy away when the invitation was given [from China]."

However, given the chance of a domestic political backlash, Abe is considering the chances for a visit either before or after the anniversary, the paper said.

"It would be a big step to improve relations with China and to change Japan's negative impression among the Chinese if Abe would visit China on September 3," Tadayoshi Murata, honorary professor at Japan's Yokohama National University, told the Global Times, adding that watching the parade with Chinese people could prove to be meaningful.

Many Chinese netizens on Sunday expressed their hope that Abe would accept the invitation to visit China for the parade and take the "historic" opportunity to make apologies, not only to China, but to other neighboring countries in Asia for its wartime atrocities.

Analysts, however, said the decision could prove to be a difficult one for Abe, who has to weigh both the domestic political environment and the U.S. attitude toward his visit to China.

"Abe's decision reflects Japan's attitudes to historic issues. Accepting the invitation would show that Japan is ready to face up to history and handle issues left over from the past with other Asian countries," Liu said.

"Japan needs this opportunity to balance ties with China since its economic power has been on the decline," Geng Xin, deputy director of Japan's JCC New Japan Research Institute, told the Global Times. "Abe also hopes to ease some pressure from both the domestic and the international communities to create a stable environment to implement the security bills."

Japanese media reported that Abe's approval ratings are steadily sliding due to his push in the Diet for the security legislation, which would mark a radical shift in Japan's postwar defense policy by significantly expanding the overseas role of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. Abe and his aides are reportedly hoping that the Abe-Xi meeting could help reverse the downward trend.

A good relationship between China and Japan will help both countries resolve the East China Sea dispute, Geng said.

The U.S. wants to find a new balance to make Japan and China contain each other without hurting U.S. interests, he noted.

Abe plans to express "deep remorse" over World War II in a statement before August 15, the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender, but he is unlikely to offer an apology for the war, Kyodo News reported.

Shotaro Yachi, the head of the National Security Council, reportedly plans to visit Beijing for talks with Yang Jiechi, China's State Councilor. Yachi is expected to lay the groundwork for a summit between Abe and Xi, NHK reported.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Liang Jun)

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