JAKARTA - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping held an amicable meeting in which they agreed to promote intergovernmental dialogue and private-sector exchanges between Japan and China, as part of efforts to improve bilateral ties.
Abe and Xi held bilateral talks Wednesday for the first time in five months, on the sidelines of the Asian-African Conference in Jakarta. During their 25-minute summit meeting, the two leaders also discussed issues related to the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as well as the subject of historical perception.
At the beginning of the meeting, Xi said relations between China and Japan have recently improved to some extent amid joint efforts by representatives of both countries. Abe said he appreciated that bilateral relations have improved since their meeting in November last year.
The two leaders agreed to promote a mutually beneficial strategic relationship, and contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region and the world.
China has called for the creation of huge "One Belt, One Road" economic zones and the establishment of the AIIB - both of which, Xi said, have been hailed worldwide.
Xi said he had not expected that China would be able to obtain understanding from such a variety of countries about the establishment of the AIIB. He said he believes Abe will also express his understanding of the project, indicating hopes for Japan's participation.
Abe said, "[Japan] shares the recognition that it is necessary to strengthen financial mechanisms as infrastructure demand in Asia is growing," but maintained a cautious stance.
He went on to say: "I've heard that there are problems in areas including governance. I expect working-level officials will hold talks, and I'll wait for reports from them."
Regarding historical perception, Xi said squarely facing up to history would promote mutual understanding. He invited Abe to a Sept. 3 ceremony, which China describes as commemorating the anniversary of its victory in the war of resistance against Japan, and said he has no intention of criticising the Japan of today during the event.
Abe said the Japanese government has inherited the position of previous Cabinets as a whole, including statements by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama and Junichiro Koizumi, and will continue in the same vein.
"Our stance to seek the path of a pacifist nation, which is based on our profound remorse for World War II, will remain unchanged," Abe said.