Japan's Abe in China as 2 nations try to mend ties

Shinzo Abe's visit this week will be the first formal one by a Japanese prime minister in seven years

On Friday Mr Abe met his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang, and he is due to meet President Xi Jinping later.

Japan's Shinzo Abe inspected troops off Beijing's Tiananmen Square Friday during a rare visit to China as ties further improve and the two countries face trade challenges from US President Donald Trump.

The pacts were reached on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's three-day visit to Beijing as the two neighbours looked to carve out new areas of cooperation and seek new ways to promote trust, which has been fragile at times since diplomatic relations resumed in 1972.

On Sunday, the first day of his official visit, Modi will visit the Yamanashi prefecture near Tokyo, which has a sizeable industrial base. "Seeing how China has developed is a source of pride for Japan as well".

Japan also hopes for progress toward implementing a 2008 agreement on jointly developing gas fields in disputed waters, and wants China to ease import limits on produce from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Since an awkward 2014 encounter between Abe and Xi on the sidelines of a summit, there have been ministerial visits by both sides and a softening of rhetoric.

During Mr Abe's visit, the leaders will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the signing of a treaty between the two countries that was meant to set the tone for their relations following the war.

The two premiers also agreed to aim for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

He called on the two sides to cooperate closely in the worldwide arena, expand common interests, promote regional economic integration, jointly combat global challenges, safeguard multilateralism and uphold free trade and construct an open world economy. "I am very happy that today I am able to be here with Premier Li and everyone for this historic turning point", Abe said.

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Japan has trade problems of its own with the US.

The discussions between Japan and China might also be an opportunity for Tokyo to act as a bridge between the United States and China.

In the talks, the two leaders are also expected to discuss the Asia Africa growth corridor and Gokhale said something concrete may come out on it. For Tokyo, these bilateral talks showcase Japan's commitment to diplomacy, deepen economic engagement with China, and build multilateral trade by accelerating both the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (an alternative to TPP) and trilateral negotiations between for a South Korea, Japan, and China free-trade agreement.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the high-speed rail project was held during Abe's visit to India in September previous year for the annual bilateral summit.

Despite the thaw in ties, mistrust persists. "We believe this is the first time a foreign leader is visiting PM Abe's holiday home", Gokhale said, referring to the dinner for Modi.

"If that is realized, the improvement in Japan-China relations will accelerate". Leaders of India and Japan are set to discuss the Indo-Pacific at length, including matters related to connectivity and infrastructure, as well as the political and security situation in the region during the summit.

"Japan's wartime aggression is still deeply hurting".

Since then, Abe and Xi have met multiple times at global summits, with each country praising the others' efforts to improve relations.

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