Japan calls on China to improve relations
BEIJING- Agence France-Presse
REUTERS PhotoJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a direct appeal to Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping for the two countries to improve relations amid their bitter row over disputed islands, Beijing said Jan. 25.
Tokyo’s new leader said in a letter to Xi that he would like to “push forward Japan-China strategic relationships for mutual benefit,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. The personal missive was handed to Xi by Abe’s coalition ally Natsuo Yamaguchi in a meeting in Beijing aimed at smoothing links between the world’s second- and third-largest economies, which have been heavily damaged by the dispute.
“In the letter, Abe said that Japan-China relations are one of the most important bilateral relationships, the two countries share common responsibilities for peaceful development for Asia-Pacific and the world,” the spokesman added. Beijing has repeatedly sent ships and aircraft near the Tokyo-controlled islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan but claimed by Beijing as the Diaoyus.