BEIJING — China’s president, Xi Jinping, and Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, met in Indonesia on Wednesday, a signal of a continued slight warming in relations that still remain frosty between Asia’s two biggest economies.
The two leaders were attending a gathering of Asian and African nations to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference, which was attended by nations opposed to colonialism. The gathering was held in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.
The encounter in Jakarta, the second in the last five months between Mr. Xi and Mr. Abe, was not mentioned beforehand by the Chinese state-run news media, an apparent attempt to play down the meeting’s significance. The Chinese news media later reported that the meeting was held at the request of Japan.
The two leaders met for about half an hour, about half the customary time for such diplomatic sessions. In Beijing last November, their meeting was also short.
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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, left, and China’s president, Xi Jinping, on Monday in Beijing. Chinese officials apparently decided that they could not snub Mr. Abe at the APEC meeting.
Credit Pool photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon
News Analysis: For China and Japan, a New Effort to Improve Relations Produces a Chilly Scene NOV. 10, 2014
“The Sino-Japanese relationship is far from good,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing. “Xi still holds great distrust of Abe, and Abe has distrust of Xi.”
But Mr. Xi and Mr. Abe agreed in November to open a dialogue, part of an effort to ratchet down the atmosphere of confrontation that has dominated relations since 2012, Mr. Shi said.