China and Ja­pan lead­ers meet to mend ties

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

Photo: AFP

Xi Jin­ping is ready to mend fences with Ja­pan.

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