The foreign ministers of China and Japan on Monday called for better relations between the Asian neighbours, who have repeatedly quarrelled over disputed maritime territories.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Japanese counterpart Takeaki Matsumoto emphasised the positive at the start of their talks at the Diaoyutai guest house in central Beijing, where foreign officials are often received.
‘I am willing to improve China’s relations with Japan,’ Mr Yang said in welcoming Mr Matsumoto, who took office in March.
The Japanese minister in turn highlighted his frequent contacts with Mr Yang since assuming his post and said stability was ‘important to the two nations’.
Beijing and Tokyo have repeatedly quarrelled over the years over maritime territories, and Japan has often voiced concern about China’s rising defence spending and increasingly assertive stance as a naval power.
Last year, China and Japan – the world’s number two and three economies – locked horns after Japan arrested a Chinese captain for ramming his trawler against Japanese coastguard ships off disputed islands in the East China Sea.