China hopes Japan’s new ambassador will work to improve ties

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 05:33 GMT, May 17, 2016 |

China said on Monday (May 16) that it hoped Japan’s new ambassador to Beijing, Yutaka Yokoi, will work to improve strained ties between the two countries.

According to the official website of Japan’s embassy in Beijing, Yutaka officially took over the ambassadorship from Masato Kitera on Sunday (May 15).

Kitera’s term began in December of 2012, not long after nationwide protests opposing Japan’s purchase of a group of disputed islands, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei acknowledged that ties have improved gradually over the four years, but could be better.

“At the moment, Japan-China relations, to some extent, have improved. But they are still fragile and complex. We hope that Japan’s new ambassador to China will use due diligence to push for the improvement and development of relations between both countries,” he told media in Beijing at a Monday news briefing.

Japanese media said that Yokoi, who speaks Mandarin, has held a number of posts in China since he joined Japan’s foreign ministry in 1979.