Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today, a day ahead of the G20 summit commencing in Osaka. This will be Xi’s first official visit to Japan as President.

Chinese and Japanese common interests lie in strengthening their economic and diplomatic ties in light of protectionist external policies of the US. Prime Minister Abe can mediate between the US and China, Japan’s largest trade partners to reach towards a de-escalation of the trade war and encourage joint efforts towards free trade.

As Japan is a key ally of the US, it is less likely to take any extreme measure against the USA’s China policy. However, increasing uncertainty in US tariff policies with its trade partners may prompt Abe to build a stronger relationship with China in the long term.

The two countries have the potential to cooperate on China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Asia and Japan’s Growth Ring 4200 km of road links in Africa, where the latter can serve as an extension to the former.

We can expect the two leaders to signal cooperation on scientific research rather than diplomatic collaboration in the foreseeable future.