Abe "very pleased" with Japan lawmaker's meeting with Xi

BEIJING - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his delight at knowing Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a dinner party this weekend aimed at promoting exchanges between the two countries, a lawmaker said Sunday.

Toshihiro Nikai, a veteran lawmaker from Japan's ruling party, said he has already spoken with Abe over the phone and explained to the premier about his conversation with Xi at the event on Saturday in the Great Hall of the People.

"As Prime Minister Abe was paying attention to our meeting (with Xi), he was very pleased," Nikai told a press conference to wrap up his three-day visit to Beijing.

The ceremony was attended by a Japanese delegation of more than 3,000 people, including lawmakers, local government officials and representatives from the tourism industry, and some senior Chinese officials.

In his first appearance at such an event involving Japan since taking office in 2012, Xi said he wants to promote friendly cooperation between Asia's two biggest economies.

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