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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Oct. 26, 2018 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Abe’s Rare China Visit and Japan’s Bifurcated Foreign Policy in the Trump Era

Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018

The atmosphere during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s rare visit to China last week, the first by a Japanese leader since 2011, was loaded with historical meaning. Oct. 23, two days before Abe arrived in Beijing, was the 40th anniversary of the two countries’ Treaty of Peace and Friendship coming into effect. That agreement formally ended their state of war.

The anniversary has now become a convenient touchstone for two countries seeking to normalize relations following a multi-year chill, mainly over disputed islands in the East China Sea and sensitive historical issues. And in the 1970s, as in 2018, it was U.S. foreign policy—intentionally or not—that helped to bring Asia’s two largest economies closer together. ...

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