Abe, Xi Agree To Boost Ties

Abe, Xi agree to boost ties

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met in Beijing. Both say they're determined to turn a new page in the relationship between the two countries.

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 cooperation on higher levels."

Abe said, "I want my visit 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 keep developing fair and free trade systems. We also want to work with China on regional, as well as global, peace and stability initiatives. This is what the international community expects of us."

Abe's trip is the first official visit by a Japanese leader to China in 7 years.

Xi also reflected on historical issues between the 2 countries.
He said, "China and Japan have interacted for more than 2,000 years. Our peoples have been learning from each other for a long time, and growing. In that long history, there were also deplorable times and the Chinese people suffered tremendously."

Abe's visit comes as the countries commemorate the 40th anniversary of a peace and friendship treaty.

Their warm tone marks a change compared to a few years ago when relations were rockier.

Ties soured after 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.

Free trade was a key agenda issue earlier in the day when Abe met with the Chinese Premier.
Li Keqiang said the 2 countries inked deals worth about 20 billion dollars. The leaders also said they'll set up a framework that will make it easier to work together on infrastructure projects in developing countries.

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.