May 22, 2012
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- China's top uniformed military officer Gen. Guo Boxiong is unlikely to visit Japan anytime soon, having postponed a trip because of pressing business at home, top Japanese government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said Tuesday.
China's decision to forego Guo's visit may have been caused by recent friction between Tokyo and Beijing surrounding Japan's hosting of the World Uyghur Congress last week and a territorial dispute over the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, political observers say.
Guo's trip was expected to take place from May 24-28.
Fujimura told a news conference it has now become "difficult" for Guo to visit Japan in the near future because of "reasons related to his duties" and both their nations are rescheduling his trip.
Originally, Guo's visit to Japan was planned for April but this was put off as the date overlapped with the North Korea's missile launch schedule.
Mutual visits by top defense officials have been suspended since a Chinese trawler collided with two Japan Coast Guard vessels off the Senkaku Islands in 2010. Guo's trip to Japan, if realized, would have marked the first such visit since 2009, when Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie came to Japan.