TOKYO — Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks by telephone on Friday, their first since Suga took over as Japan’s leader this month, Kyodo News reported.
Suga, who has little diplomatic experience, must manage relations with Japan’s bigger neighbor as tension between China and the United States worsen amid the coronavirus pandemic and lingering trade friction. Suga spoke on the phone to U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday.
Japan, which is a close U.S. ally, is also embroiled in a dispute with China over the ownership of islands in the East China Sea, and is concerned about a uptick in Chinese military activity in the region.
A planned state visit by Xi to Japan earlier this year was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. (Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Alex Richardson)