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Japanese foreign minister reveals invitation from Chinese counterpart

Tokyo's top diplomat says plans not underway for visit to Beijing

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Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) invited his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, to come to China for an official visit during a phone call on Thursday (Nov. 18), according to a statement made by Hayashi on Sunday (Nov. 21).

Despite receiving the invitation, arrangements are not currently being made, per a Kyodo News report.

"Nothing is set,” Hayashi said during a media appearance. “No arrangements are being made.”

Hayashi only took up the position as Japan’s foreign minister this month. In a phone call between Hayashi and Wang last week, the two spoke about stabilizing bilateral ties.

However, there was a clear divide on both territorial claims and human rights issues, per Kyodo News.

Questioned about the possibility of Tokyo joining a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year, Hayashi only said Japan will decide what to do “on our own.”

The boycott has been suggested as a way for countries to protest human rights violations in China's Xinjiang region, where it is estimated between 1 and 3 million ethnic Uyghur Muslims have been held in concentration camps.

Hayashi was also asked what he thought about the sexual assault scandal surrounding Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai (彭帥) and senior Chinese politician Zhang Gaoli (张高丽). Japan’s top diplomat simply said he is "paying close attention" to the situation.