The leader of democratic Japan and the leader of communist China met and as you can tell from the video it wasn’t the most joyous of photo opportunities.
Japan’s Abe (on the left) appeared to make an effort but communist Xi well… the video says it all.
Despite the awkwardness, pundits are saying that it’s a breakthrough of sorts with both men talking during the APEC summit being held in China.
But why so frosty?
Well on the surface, the past few years has seen the two countries being at loggerheads over territorial claims.
Beijing has been the much more aggressive of the two.
But it’s much deeper than that.
Making Japan an enemy of China is very useful for the Chinese Communist Party.
As a way of legitimizing itself, the Party has promoted rabid national hatred against Japan, largely based on World War Two atrocities committed by Japanese imperial forces.
Anti-Japanese sentiment has been used by the Party to focus national attention away from domestic issues such as:
- Unbelievable amounts of official corruption
- Persistent human rights abuses
- Reports of organ harvesting
- Massive inequality
- Pervasive environmental degradation
- Repression of religious and political freedoms
Just to name a few.
Beijing also has a number of territorial claims with several other nations such as Vietnam, The Philippines and India.