China has told Japan that "negative" moves by Tokyo on major issues are preventing an improvement in bilateral ties. But Beijing added that there are now opportunities to improve relations.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (above right) told his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida (above left) that both countries "should make efforts to bring bilateral ties back onto the right track," the state owned Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
"The continuous, negative moves made recently by Japan regarding major sensitive issues have caused disturbances to the improvement of bilateral ties," Wang added, without offering details.
"Only when Japan honors its commitments and adopts a responsible attitude, thus preventing the occurrence of incidents damaging the political foundation of the China-Japan ties, can there be real improvement in relations."
Ties between Asia's two largest economies have long been overshadowed by arguments over their wartime history and a territorial argument in the East China Sea over a group of uninhabited islands, among other issues.
"There are now both opportunities and challenges for improving China-Japan relations," China's foreign ministry paraphrased Wang as saying in a statement late on Friday.
Uotsuri Island, one of the disputed Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, claimed by Japan China and Taiwan
Wang and Kishida met on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty (G20) ministerial summit in Germany's western city of Bonn.
Kishida said 2017 is a vital year for the China-Japan relations, expressing the Japanese side's willingness to handle differences between both countries well. He said Japan would work to make events marking the 45th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japan ties a success, giving a boost to the improvement of bilateral ties.
Saying Japan attaches importance to the major concerns raised by China, Kishida reiterated Japan's stance of not supporting Taiwanese independence, saying the stance would not change.
China this week expressed concern after Japan appeared to receive backing in its dispute with Beijing over islands in the South China Sea during a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.