China-Japan—Thaw in relations

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a summit in Indonesia on 22 April 2015, the latest sign of a thaw between the Asian rivals that came despite an awkward diplomatic backdrop.

Abe told reporters after the meeting that the two leaders agreed to work for better relations and contribute to regional stability by promoting “mutually beneficial strategic ties”.

The meeting took place despite a speech at the Asian-African summit by Abe in which he warned powerful nations against imposing on the weak, an implicit reference to China. He also made an allusion to Tokyo’s remorse in the past over World War-II without issuing a fresh apology.

Tensions between Asia’s two biggest economies have flared in recent years due to feuds over wartime history, as well as territorial rows and regional rivalry.

Abe urged Xi at their meeting to work together to ease tensions in the East China Sea, where they have rival claims to tiny Japanese-controlled islets, Kyodo news agency reported.

Xi was quoted by state-run China National Radio as telling Abe that he “hopes the Japanese side takes seriously the concerns of its Asian neighbours and issues a positive message of facing squarely up to history”.

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