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Chinese, Japanese leaders stress importance of relations

September 29, 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke on the phone to mark the 50th anniversary of normalizing diplomatic ties. The two countries have had strained relations in the past.

Images of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping in a combination photo.
Both the countries have strong trade ties.

On the fiftieth anniversary of normalized diplomatic ties between China and Japan, their respective leaders said it was important to take relations in a positive direction.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke on the phone on Thursday. 

Xi told Kishida that he attached "great importance" to the development of China-Japan ties, and that he was willing to expand the relationship, reported China's state channel CCTV.

"Japan and China share a great responsibility to achieve peace and prosperity in the region and world. In view of the next 50 years ... I hope to work with you to build constructive and stable Japan-China relations" Kishida told Xi.

There was no formal event to celebrate the occasion. However, messages from both leaders were read out at an event in Tokyo backed by the government and the Chinese embassy.

What have China-Japan ties been like?

China and Japan have had strained relations due to multiple issues, including disputed islands and regional influence.

Japan is concerned by Chinese activity around the disputed Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims and calls the Diaoyus.

After US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, Beijing launched missiles near Taiwan into Japan's exclusive economic zone, heightening tensions. 

The war in Ukraine also has Japan and China on opposing sides.

However, the world's second and third largest economies are key trade partners. China is Japan's largest trading partner and Japan is China's second-largest partner, after the United States.

"I believe what we decided 50 years ago is that Japan and China do not fight, and that we cooperate with each other to build relations of peace and stability," former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said at the Tokyo event with 850 business executives and politicians.

"We need to recollect the ties that were agreed upon 50 years ago and pour our full energy into maintaining those relations for another 50, 100 years. There just can be no other way," he said.

tg/sms  (AFP, Reuters)