Japan and China seek improved ties in impromptu talks at Apec summit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders' retreat in Hangzhou on Sept 4, 2016.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders' retreat in Hangzhou on Sept 4, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

LIMA (REUTERS) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he aims to improve ties with China by capitalising on key anniversaries for bilateral relations in the next few years, a Japanese government spokesman said.

The two leaders held impromptu talks on Sunday (Nov 21) while attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Lima.

Mr Abe told Mr Xi he would like to seek comprehensive improvement of ties with eyes on the 45th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations next year and the 40th anniversary of the Japan-China peace and friendship treaty in 2018, the spokesman said.

China's Foreign Ministry said the brief talks happened at the request of the Japanese side. "President Xi Jinping stated clearly China's principled position on developing Sino-Japan relations," the ministry said, without elaborating.

Ties between China and Japan, the world's second- and third-largest economies, have long been strained by a territorial dispute.