On November 10, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, held talks with Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing, “in a long-awaited first official meeting since both leaders took office” . According to Deutsche Welle, Abe told reporters that “this is a first step toward improving bilateral relations, returning to the core of a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests”. The meeting is significant, as “China and Japan, the world's second- and third-largest economies, have rowed bitterly in the past two years over disputed islands” – namely the ones in East China Sea, known as Diaoyu by the Chinese and Senkaku by the Japanese, which are controlled by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing, “regional rivalry and the legacy of Japan's wartime occupation of China”. According to Reuters, Xi and Abe “agreed to start work on maritime crisis management, to prevent clashes at a time when patrol ships and fighter jets from both countries shadow each other regularly near the disputed islands in the East China Sea”. Better bilateral relations between China and Japan could help increase regional stability. In addition, an enhanced Tokyo-Beijing economical relation would benefit both countries, whose already impressive economic powers would become even more potent.
U.S. President Barack Obama has also come to Beijing for the APEC summit, this being his first visit to China since 2009. From an economic point of view, contradictions between the U.S. and China are to be expected, as Beijing “is gathering support for the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank”, an “alternative to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank”, a project which is backed by “many neighbouring countries, including India”, but which has been labeled by the U.S. as “redundant and alarmingly opaque”. Another source of disagreement could be “a trade pact called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an American-led agreement between 11 nations”; however, “China — which is not part of the TPP — is fighting for a separate pact, the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, or FTAAP”. The U.S. and China, who are the two greatest economic powers at the moment, have obvious contradicting views. It remains to be seen which one will gain the upper hand in the aftermath of the 2014 APEC summit in Beijing, as both countries try to preserve and/or expand their strategic-economic interests in the Asia-Pacific region.
“China and Japan leaders hold landmark meeting in Beijing”, Deutsche Welle, November 10, 2014, accessed at the Internet address http://www.dw.de/china-and-japan-leaders-hold-landmark-meeting-in-beijing/a-18050872
Leika KIHARA, Sui-Lee WEE, “China's Xi, Japan's Abe hold landmark meeting after awkward handshake”, Reuters, November 10, 2014, accessed at the Internet address http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/10/us-china-japan-idUSKCN0IU08420141110
Jonathan KAIMAN, “China-US gulf widens as ‘marginalised’ Obama heads for Beijing summit”, The Guardian, November 9, 2014, accessed at the Internet address http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/nov/09/us-china-gap-marginalised-obama-summit
Emily RAUHALA, “A Beleaguered Barack Obama Goes to Meet a Confident Xi Jinping at APEC”, The Time, November 10, 2014, accessed at the Internet address http://time.com/3575422/apec-beijing-barack-obama-xi-jinping-summit/