Friday’s summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping is the first between the two countries since 2011. It’s an important event. If it does no more than reduce longstanding tensions between the world’s second- and third-largest economies, it will have served a worthy purpose. But there’s good reason for Abe, in particular, to think bigger.
The sudden chill in China’s relations with the U.S. means that Beijing is looking for friends. Abe can seize this opportunity — and use it to nudge Xi toward policies that support global norms of economic and diplomatic cooperation. If he succeeds, Japan would benefit, and so would the rest of the world.