News analysis

Sino-Japan ties still fraught but at least Abe and Xi are talking

'Eternal neighbours' label has helped ease tensions but deep-rooted differences remain

Kobe beef, Omi wagyu and Japan's highest-quality rice from Niigata were on the menu as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pulled out the stops in hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping to a traditional washoku dinner on Thursday.

Their bonhomie over the 70-minute meal - just after they agreed to "permanent and close communication as eternal neighbours" in an hour-long summit - was on display as they went beyond discussing weighty issues like United States-China ties to chatting about movies and football.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2019, with the headline 'Sino-Japan ties still fraught but at least Abe and Xi are talking'. Print Edition | Subscribe