China and Japan leaders meet to mend ties
CHINA’S leader Xi Jinping and Japan’s Shinzo Abe sought to reset their countries’ troubled relationship at their first meeting in over a year, with the Japanese prime minister calling China an “important friend”.
The Asian giants have been at loggerheads over territorial disputes and historical animosity, but Mr Xi said they should “put aside disruptions”, the official news agency Xinhua said on September 5.
Their ties were “troubled by complications at times”, it cited the Chinese president as saying, but they should seek to return to normal development for the sake of regional peace and stability.
For his part Mr Abe described China as “an important friend of Japan’s since long ago”.
“We need to look at the big picture and work to improve relations,” he told reporters after the meeting.
The tone of the two leaders’ comments after a G20 summit in Hangzhou was a marked improvement on the last time they met on Chinese soil, on the sidelines of an APEC gathering in 2014, when they could barely conceal their mutual distaste.
Ties later thawed, but tensions have been rising in recent months.
The relationship between the two powers is crucial to Asian stability, and Mr Abe said “both responsible for the region’s peace and prosperity as well as the global economy”.
But they have a longstanding dispute over islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan, which knows them as Senkaku, and claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.
Just weeks before the summit, hundreds of Chinese fishing boats, accompanied by government ships, flooded into nearby waters, infuriating Tokyo and raising questions about Beijing’s intentions for the relationship. –
Xi Jinping is ready to mend fences with Japan.