BEIJING – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday, during a press conference where he reviewed national diplomacy over the past year, that China’s relations with Japan, its historic regional rival, have greatly improved, which could soon be confirmed by mutual visits from high-level leaders.
“In the recent period, Japan has established a clearer and more positive policy towards China, resulting in an improvement of relations, and China welcomes this,” Wang said.
“If Japan does not distort, deviate or backtrack, and instead accepts China’s development, we are willing to act in the same spirit so that relations can return to the path of healthy and stable development,” Wang added.
He also expressed hope that a healthy development of bilateral ties will lead to high-level visits by leaders of both countries.
These visits have remained paralyzed in the last five years, mainly due to the maritime conflict over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, controlled by Japan but whose sovereignty has been claimed by China for more than half a century.
“At this key moment in history, we hope Japan will have the political credibility and act in order to cement the political foundation of our relations and understand that we must see ourselves as partners, not threats,” concluded the minister.