Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking in Vladivostok after meeting Chinese leader Xi Jinping, said on Wednesday they had agreed to work toward an October visit by him to China, the latest sign of warming ties between the Asian rivals.
Abe also said he and Xi shared the view that Japan and China bore responsibility for world peace and prosperity, as well as the goal of achieving North Korea’s denuclearization.
His comments, made on the sidelines of a regional forum in the east Russian city, were aired on Japan’s NHK public broadcaster and reported by Reuters.
Abe returned to office for a rare second term in December 2012, promising a hard line toward China in a territorial row over tiny islands in the East China Sea.
But although the dispute simmers, relations have stabilized recently amid intensifying U.S. trade pressure on both China and Japan.
“In response to China’s gracious invitation, I intend to visit China this year, the year in which we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China,” Abe told the forum later.
“After that, I very much wish to invite President Xi to Japan. Through this exchange of visits at the leaders’ level, I hope to raise Japan-China relations to a new stage.”