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Abe eager to “make success” of Chinese PM Li’s visit to Japan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday expressed eagerness to “make success” of his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang’s anticipated visit to Japan, as bilateral relations have been improving recently.

 

“I would like (Li’s visit to Japan) to lead to my visit to China next and further to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Japan,” Abe said in an interview in Tokyo with Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV.

 

The interview was conducted weeks before Li is set to visit Japan to attend a trilateral summit among China, Japan and South Korea, expected to be held in May in Tokyo.

 

According to the TV station, Abe cited North Korea’s nuclear issue and the promotion of private exchanges and free trade as major items on the agenda of the summit.

 

In recent years, Sino-Japanese ties have been mired in a territorial row over the Senkaku Islands, called Diaoyu in China, which escalated after the Japanese government effectively put them under state control in September 2012.

 

But bilateral relations have been clearly improving, as this year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of a friendship treaty between the two countries.

 

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters after holding talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Tokyo earlier this month that they agreed to go forward with mutual visits by leaders of the two nations.

 

==Kyodo

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