Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday. It’s the first official visit by a Japanese leader to China in 7 years.
Xi said, “As the international situation changes, China and Japan are becoming increasingly dependent on one another. Our countries also have a growing number of common interests and concerns on a multilateral level. The rapid changes in the world are providing China and Japan with opportunities for more in-depth cooperation,” report agencies.
Abe said, “I want to use my visit as an opportunity to elevate the Japan-China relationship to a new phase from competition to cooperation. Japan and China are neighbors and partners, and we will not be a threat to each other.
We need to maintain and further develop fair and free trade systems. To this aim, we want to work with China for the peace and stability of the world, and the region, and that’s what countries around the world expect of us.”
Xi reflected on historical issues between the 2 countries.
He said, “China and Japan have interacted for more than 2,000 years. The people of our countries have long been learning from each other and achieving developments. In that long history, there were deplorable times and the Chinese people suffered tremendously.”
Abe’s visit comes as the countries mark the 40th anniversary of a peace and friendship treaty.
There is a growing momentum between the countries.
Relations have been rocky since the Japanese government purchased some of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea from their Japanese owner in 2012.
Japan controls the islands. China and Taiwan claim them.
Abe has repeatedly said that the 2 countries’ relations are now moving from competition to cooperation.
During a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas.
On the economic front, Li announced companies from the 2 countries inked deals worth about 20 billion dollars.
The leaders say they’ll also create a new framework to move ahead with infrastructure projects in developing countries.
They also agreed to promote free trade.
The boost in economic ties comes amid an escalating trade war between China and the US, and President Donald Trump’s increasingly protectionist stance.
Abe and Li also agreed to coordinate efforts to get North Korea to denuclearize and quickly set up a hotline to avoid accidents in the East China Sea.