Leaders of China and Japan meet on the sidelines of APEC conference

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SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a rare meeting Monday on the sidelines of APEC conference in Beijing, after more than two years of deep tensions over an island dispute.

The problems between China and Japan over uninhabited East China Sea islands raised concerns of a military confrontation between Asia’s two largest economics. China also has been angry over what it sees as effort by Japan to play down its brutal 20th century invasion and occupation of China. The meeting between Xi and Abe ahead of Tuesday’s summit of the 21-member APEC forum gives rise to hopes the countries can scale down the tensions.

Abe told reporters after the talks that the countries made a “first step” toward reconciliation.

“I believe that not only our Asian neighbors but many other countries have long hoped that Japan and China hold talks,” Abe said. “We finally lived up to their expectations and made a first step to improve our ties.” China’s state Xinhua News Agency said that Xi urged Japan to “do more things that help enhance the mutual trust between Japan and its neighboring countries, and play a constructive role in safeguarding the region’s peace and stability.”

The two sides issued a joint statement on Friday agreeing to gradually resume political, diplomatic and security dialogues. In that statement, Japan said it acknowledged differing views over the status of the islands, called Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japan. China has long demanded that Tokyo acknowledge that the islands’ sovereignty is in dispute, something Japan has refused to do.

Source: International media

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