World News

Japan PM Suga, China's Xi to hold phone talks Friday - source

FILE PHOTO: Yoshihide Suga speaks during a news conference following his confirmation as Prime Minister of Japan in Tokyo, Japan September 16, 2020. Carl Court/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to hold talks by telephone on Friday evening, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, in their first discussion since Suga took over as Japan’s leader.

Kyodo news agency, which reported the plan earlier, said the talks were aimed at further expanding ties between the two countries, citing multiple unidentified government sources.

The leaders are also expected to discuss Xi’s state visit to Japan which was postponed earlier this year due to coronavirus, the news agency said.

Suga last week became Japan’s first new leader in nearly eight years and has been speaking by phone with world leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump.

He faces a delicate balancing act in keeping Japan’s relations with the United States and China on track as tensions heighten between the two.

Japan and China also have their own tensions over long-time issues including a territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea.

Reporting by Kazuhiko Tamaki and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Michael Perry