According to reports by Japanese media on Jan. 23, the Chinese communist regime's Vice President Zeng Qinghong and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan revealed to Japanese guests that President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan might not take place this year.
Earlier this month, Hu Jintao personally pledged to visit Japan in June. What causes concern over this change of plans is not the re-emergence of problems in Sino-Japan relations but rather indications of an increasingly heated power struggle between the two factions in power (Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao vs. Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong).
According to Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) news, at a Jan. 8, Beijing meeting with Akihiro Ota, head of Japan's New Komeito Party, Hu Jintao welcomed the prospect of another meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later this year. However, during a meeting with a Japanese Diet Delegation headed by former Education Minister Kosaka Kenji three days later, both Zeng Qinghong and Tang Jiaxuan indicated that Hu is unlikely to visit Japan this year.
It was reported that the explanation given by the Chinese was that it was difficult to arrange state leaders' visits to Japan twice a year, and earlier this year Premier Wen Jiabao had already confirmed an April visit.
According to a commentary in the Apple Daily News, the reversal of Hu's promise by other leaders only suggests that Hu was either making a hasty decision or was forced to withdraw under pressure. As Hu is also the head of the Working Committee of the Central Foreign Affairs Department, undoubtedly, he is aware of Wen's plan to visit Japan. It is impossible that he does not realize the seriousness of a public commitment to visit a foreign country under these circumstances. Canceling this promise would certainly damage his reputation.
The commentary states that the greatest concern is the direct interference by high-level Party officials with Hu Jintao, China's national leader.