BEIJING — The flagship newspaper of China’s Communist Party reported Friday a meeting between President Xi Jinping and Japanese ruling party lawmakers on its front page with a photograph, reflecting Beijing’s preparedness to substantially improve relations with Tokyo.
The People’s Daily reported favorably of Thursday’s meeting in Beijing, quoting Xi as saying it is important to strengthen cooperation between the two countries for the further development of bilateral ties.
The meeting between Xi and a delegation of Japan’s ruling coalition led by Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, took place as Tokyo hopes to realize reciprocal visits by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Xi in 2018.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the two countries’ treaty of friendship and peace.
Since Xi became head of the Communist Party in November 2012, bilateral relations were tense for a considerable while, due to a territorial dispute, disagreements over wartime history and regional rivalry.
During the meeting, Nikai, seen as the No. 2 man in Japan’s main ruling party, asked Xi to visit Tokyo next year for the first time since taking power.
The delegation concluded a six-day visit to China on Friday, after holding talks with a number of senior Chinese officials, including State Councilor Yang Jiechi, the country’s top diplomat and Song Tao, head of the Communist Party’s external affairs department.
On Friday, Nikai met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and one of the topics they discussed was North Korea, according to a Japanese official.