Japan's PM Abe: China is a vital economic partner
Published on Apr 17, 2014 4:07 PM
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticised Beijing for trying to "change the status quo" with force in maritime disputes but said China was a vital economic partner, as a series of visits suggested a possible thaw in ties between the Asian rivals.
Sino-Japanese ties have been strained by a territorial row over tiny disputed isles in the East China Sea and perceptions in Beijing that Mr Abe wants to rewrite Japan's wartime history and tone down past apologies.
"China's growth is a chance for Japan, and for the world as well. China is Japan's largest trading partner and we are in inseparable relations economically," Mr Abe said at a symposium. "On the other hand, it is true that China is challenging the status quo with force in the East China Sea and South China Sea," he said, referring to Beijing's territorial rows with several South-east Asian countries as well.
"It is necessary for not only Japan but many other countries to prompt China to grow peacefully as a responsible country."
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