Xi wants Japan in AIIB as Beijing and Tokyo mend fences

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting in Beijing on May 16. © Kyodo

 

Abe government may reconsider membership in China-led investment bank

TOKYO — Japan could reopen talks on whether to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a senior lawmaker signaled Tuesday after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss improving bilateral ties.

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, did not discuss the matter with Xi directly during the pair’s 17-minute talk in Beijing on Tuesday, which was concerned mainly with the possibility of Chinese leaders including Xi visiting Japan and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting China. But Nikai told a news conference afterward that he would discuss the matter thoroughly with Abe when he returns home.

Pulling Japan into the organization would be a significant win for China, and was likely on Xi’s mind as he received the Japanese lawmaker. Nikai had told his traveling press pool Monday that the government will see “how quickly we can reach a decision” on AIIB membership. Japan and the U.S. steered clear of the organization when it set sail in 2015.

Abe himself said in an interview Monday with Broadcast Satellite Japan and CNBC of the U.S. that Tokyo will discuss the matter carefully with Washington. “First of all, there remains the issue of whether impartial governance can be established,” he said. “Secondly, there is the issue of the sustainability of debt servicing on the part of the borrowing countries and whether the societal and environmental impact are duly considered.”

Neither Finance Minister Taro Aso nor Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga went into detail regarding the AIIB when speaking to the press Tuesday, saying only that no changes have yet been made to Japanese policy.

Full article: Xi wants Japan in AIIB as Beijing and Tokyo mend fences (Nikkei Asian Review)

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