Monday Jul 14, 201407:43 AM GMT
Japan premier calls for direct talks with China’s president

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has once again called for face-to-face talks with China amid tense diplomatic relations between the two Asian countries.

Abe said Monday he hopes to have a summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November.

“I would like to hold a summit meeting with China during the November APEC in Beijing. The door for dialogue is always open on my side, and I hope China have the same attitude,” the Japanese premier said.

Abe referred to the huge trading and business ties between Japan and China, saying the two countries are inextricably linked despite a row over islands in the East China Sea and some historical grievances.

“It’s inevitable to have some sort of trouble between neighboring countries, but we should look at the entire relationship when dealing with small troubles. That’s what forms the basis of having a strategic relationship between countries,” he said.

Last week, Abe also called for talks with Xi, as did his close adviser Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Abe and Xi have not held a meeting since they both came to power more than 18 months ago.

Relations between Japan and China further deteriorated early this month after Japan moved to relax restrictions on the use of armed force in a controversial change to its post-war pacifism. Japan-China relations had already been strained by a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Fears of an ensuing conflict grew in November 2013, when China imposed an Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea and announced that it required notification from planes crossing the area.

Coast guard vessels from Japan and China regularly confront each other in waters around the islands, which are believed to be sitting atop large deposits of natural gas.

DB/HJL

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