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China, Japan FMs Meet to Smooth Tense Ties
International

China, Japan FMs Meet to Smooth Tense Ties

China portrayed the visit on Saturday by the Japanese foreign minister as an act of outreach to an angry Beijing, as the two sides try to repair relations bedeviled by disputes over territory, history and competition for influence in East Asia.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Fumio Kishida that the ties must be based on “respect for history, adherence to commitment and on cooperation rather than confrontation”.

Relations have gone through “twists and turns in recent years due to reasons best known by Japan”, Wang said, adding that China desires “healthy and stable relations” with its neighbor and key economic partner, AP reported.

Japan needs to “turn its words into deeds”, Wang said.

High-level ties between the two countries have been largely frozen since Japan nationalized a string of uninhabited East China Sea islands claimed by China in 2012, sparking deep anger among Chinese. Kishida’s visit is the first formal one to China by a Japanese foreign minister in more than four years.

Despite their crucial economic relationship, many Chinese harbor deep animosity toward Japan dating from its brutal invasion and occupation of much of China during the 1930s and 1940s.

Meanwhile, distrust toward Beijing runs deep among the Japanese public, who see their country’s economic and political influence being overshadowed by a rising China.

China is also deeply critical of Japan’s alliance with the US and has warned Tokyo to keep out of a festering dispute over China’s moves to cement its claim over virtually the entire South China Sea. Beijing has also lambasted moves by Japanese conservatives seen as whitewashing the country’s militaristic past and minimizing World War II atrocities committed in China and elsewhere.

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