Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping before the G20 leaders' family photo in Hangzhou on Sept 4, 2016. (Greg BAKER / AFP)
TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that he wanted to raise the Sino-Japanese relationship to a "new stage," local media reported.
According to Japan's Kyodo News, Abe said during a speech in Tokyo that as 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, he wanted to take this opportunity to deepen high-level exchanges with China and elevate bilateral relations to a "new stage."
The Japanese premier has signaled his willingness to improve the Sino-Japanese relationship on a number of occasions recently.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Abe on Nov 11 on the sidelines of the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Meeting in Vietnam's central city of Da Nang.
During the meeting, Xi said that China and Japan should, while bearing in mind the fundamental interests of the two peoples, correctly grasp the general direction of peace, friendship and cooperation, and work to enable the bilateral relations to keep improving and developing for the better through unremitting efforts and accumulating positive factors.
Abe, for his part, said the Japanese side is willing to work with China to push for the development of the strategic mutually-beneficial relationship between the two countries by marking the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship next year.
Japan hopes to increase high-level exchanges with China, carry out reciprocal economic and trade cooperation, and explore cooperation in connectivity and under the Belt and Road Initiative, Abe said.
Abe mentioned the Belt and Road Initiative once again at a press conference in Nov 14 in Manila, the Philippines, on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, saying he hoped the China-proposed initiative will make contribution to world peace and prosperity, and Japan is willing to cooperate with China in this aspect.