Japan's Abe would try to keep China ties calm: Lawmakers
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Despite tough talk on the campaign trail, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will try to avoid a serious clash with China if his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) wins Sunday's general election, as expected, senior party officials said.
Ties between Asia's two biggest economies took a dive after Japan nationalised islets at the heart of a long dispute in September, prompting violent protests in China and a standoff in waters around the isles that has raised fears of a clash.
In a bid to underscore Japan's control over the East China Sea islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, the LDP has promised to consider manning them and building structures on them, a move bound to outrage China.
LDP lawmakers knowledgeable on foreign policy, however, suggest that an Abe administration, while remaining assertive in the territorial row, would be keen to improve ties and strike a pragmatic tone with its Asian neighbour.