Abe makes fresh call for Japan-China summit

Abe makes fresh call for Japan-China summit
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York September 25, 2014.

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday renewed his call to hold a summit with China, urging both Beijing and Tokyo to make "quiet efforts" to ease tensions between the two Asian giants.

Speaking to a news conference in New York, Abe said he hoped to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in November on the sidelines of this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing.

"Because we have issues, we have to have dialogue without any precondition," said Abe, who visited New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

"I thinks it's good to hold a Japan-China summit when I visit Beijing for APEC," he said. "For the goal, the two countries need to continue making quiet efforts." Abe has regularly called for talks with China's President Xi Jinping - most recently in July - but has been rebuffed by Beijing.

Relations have been dire in recent years, with the two huge trade partners rowing over the ownership of an East China Sea island chain and over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to a Tokyo war shrine.

There has been no Japan-China summit since Abe came to power in December 2012.

Tensions rose further late last year after Abe visited the Yasukuni shrine, which honours Japan's war dead, including convicted war criminals.

During the news conference, Abe said air strikes by the United States and its Arab allies against jihadists in Syria were "unavoidable measures".

But he stressed Tokyo's contribution should be limited to "humanitarian support that excludes military contribution".

During the UN assembly, Abe pointed to Japan's foreign assistance including $50 million it has committed to support relief efforts in the Middle East, where the recent rampage by Islamic State jihadists through parts of Iraq and Syria has worsened an already dire refugee crisis.

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