Senior China military official to visit Japan, attempt to improve ties: report

Sun Herong to visit Japan in first trip of its type by a Chinese officer

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The Diaoyutai Islands

The Diaoyutai Islands (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China’s Commander of the Eastern Theater Command Air Force, Sun Herong (孫和榮) will visit Japan from Nov. 19-21 in a bid to improve ties, in the first trip of its type by a Chinese regional commander, reports suggest.

The visit is part of an effort by China to improve ties with regional countries, in the context of the U.S.-China trade war and fraying of relationships due to island building in the South China Sea, reported Kyodo News of Japan.

China hopes that it can improve relations with Japan to dissolve a potential partnership of Japan-U.S. opposition against it. On the other hand, Japan hopes the visit will help reduce conflict surrounding the disputed Diaoyu Islands, called the Senkaku Islands by Japan.

Unnamed sources in the report suggest the meeting was instigated by the Chinese government.

The trip is expected to include visits to military sites, as well as perhaps meetings with Japanese military officers in Tokyo.

In October, China and Japan’s defense ministers agreed to start a series of military exchanges to improve security and foster deeper ties between the two nations.