AP NEWS

Japanese PM Abe to visit China in sign of improved relations

October 12, 2018

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2018, file photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia. Abe is to travel to China later in October, 2018 for his first formal visit in seven years, in a further sign of improving relations between the regional rivals. (Xie Huanchi/Xinhua via AP, File)

BEIJING (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to travel to China later this month for his first formal visit in seven years, in a further sign of improving relations between the regional rivals.

Bilateral ties nosedived in 2012 after Japan nationalized a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea claimed by Beijing, setting off violent protests in China.

Despite close economic ties, many Chinese also resent Japan over its invasion of their country last century. Beijing routinely warms of resurgent Japanese militarism, despite little evidence of that appearing.

Abe’s Oct. 25-27 visit follows a trip to Japan in May by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the ruling Communist Party’s second-ranking official. President and party leader Xi Jinping is also expected to visit Japan at a future date.

“With joint efforts by the two sides, we maintained the momentum of improving bilateral ties,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters Friday.

Along with trade and investment, talks between the leaders are expected to touch on North Korea, which both countries have been pressing to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Japan hopes to “step up cooperation in all areas and elevate Japan-China relations to a higher level,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday. “I hope (the leaders) open their hearts and discuss frankly.”

___

Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

AP RADIO
Update hourly