01/26/2013, 00.00
CHINA-JAPAN
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Xi Jinping chooses dialogue with Tokyo over Senkaku / Diaoyu

by Wang Zhicheng
Xi is also thinking of a high-level summit to resolve the dispute, modelled on the meeting between Zhu Enlai and Tanaka in 1972. But in China there are sections of the population inflamed with patriotism and leaders who want Beijing’s total supremacy in the China Sea.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The General Secretary of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, is extending a hand for dialogue to resolve tensions with Tokyo over sovereignty of the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands. He has also suggested the possibility of a high-level summit between the two countries if there is "the right atmosphere".

Xi spoke of dialogue during his meeting yesterday with Natsuo Yamaguchi, a special envoy of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Yamaguchi presented Xi a letter written by Abe in which he calls for more dialogue between Tokyo and Beijing.

Given the high tension between the two countries in recent months, some analysts doubted that Xi Jinping would meet the envoy. Instead, almost at the end of Yamaguchi's visit, Xi received him, taking the letter from his hands (see photo).

The important gesture of openness - the highest level meeting between the leaders of the two countries since tensions increased - was confirmed by Yamaguchi to reporters, who said that Xi " seriously considered "the possibility of a summit as soon as the necessary conditions are created. The minutes of the meeting reported by Xinhua, however, make no mention of this. But it reports Xi's words noting that Yamaguchi's visit comes "in a time when the Sino-Japanese relations are faced with a particular situation" and reiterates that China gives "great importance" to them.

Xi also asked that there be - according to Xinhua - "political wisdom, as was the case with older generations of leaders of the two countries, to overcome the difficulties and to continue the relations."

The mention of the "older generation" is a reference to Zhou Enlai, who in 1972 he met with Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, stressing the need to resolve the dispute.

Xi's extended hand collides with a fiery patriotism in many sectors of the Chinese population - which in recent months has targeted and destroyed some Japanese properties in China, also attacking the embassy car - and the claims of the leadership eager to assert the supremacy of Beijing in the South China Sea.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement immediately after the meeting between Xi and Yamaguchi, which states that "Japan has to deal with its history and deeds, to take concrete steps and work hard with China to find effective and appropriate ways to resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation. "

In recent days, Shinzo Abe toured Southeast Asia to build alliances with other countries that have territorial issues with China, also receiving the explicit support from the United States.

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