Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday inked a number of agreements, ranging from the security to entertainment fields, amid a recent thaw in bilateral relations after years of disputes.
With this year marking the 40th anniversary of the signing of a friendship treaty, Abe and Li promised to accelerate the momentum of improvement in Japan-China ties and work to create an amicable atmosphere during their summit and joint press conference.
Abe and Li agreed on the implementation of a Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism in the East China Sea, while pledging to promote joint production of movies in the two countries.
China also agreed to donate a pair of crested ibises to Japan as a sign of improvement in bilateral relations. It would be China's first provision of the endangered birds to Japan in 11 years.
Abe and Li, meanwhile, reached an agreement to set up an expert group toward the withdrawal or easing of Chinese bans imposed on imports of food products from Japan in response to the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
(Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, pool photo)
China has voiced concern over radioactive contamination of Japanese food in the wake of the nuclear accident, triggered by the March 2011 quake-tsunami disaster.
The two nations also reached an accord on a bilateral social security agreement that would eliminate dual pension payments by Japanese expats in China and vice versa.
On the economic front, Japan and China agreed to resume their currency swap line in times of financial emergency and launch a public-private sector council to consider specific projects of cooperation related to Beijing's "One Belt, One Road" cross-border infrastructure initiative.
China has sought to expand its infrastructure networks in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa to attain its goal of connecting countries along the ancient Silk Road more closely.
Abe told Li that Japan has supported China's reform and opening-up policy, which began in 1978, with the two leaders agreeing to push ahead with free trade amid growing fears that rising trade protectionism would hurt the global economy.
In recent years, Sino-Japanese ties have been mired in a territorial row over the Senkaku Islands -- called Diaoyu in China -- that escalated after the Japanese government effectively put them under state control in September 2012.
Bilateral relations have clearly been improving, however, following the reappointment of Xi Jinping to a second five-year term as Chinese president in March.
At the outset of the summit, which was open to the media, Abe expressed a desire to visit China by the end of this year, while inviting Xi to Japan.
"I'd like to lead Japan-China relations to a new stage by promoting the overall improvement in bilateral ties," Abe told Li, vowing to make efforts to resume reciprocal visits by the two countries' leaders.
With the drastically changing situation on the Korean Peninsula, Abe and Li also exchanged views on a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump that is expected to take place by early next month.
Abe said at a joint press conference with Li that Japan and China will cooperate to implement U.N. sanctions against North Korea.
A Japanese government official said later Wednesday that Abe and Li confirmed Tokyo and Beijing will work in tandem to resolve the long-standing issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.
It is the first time Li has visited Japan since he became China's head of government in 2013. The last Chinese premier to make an official visit to Japan was Wen Jiabao in 2011.
Li, who is on a four-day trip to Japan from Tuesday, attended a trilateral summit with Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae In on Wednesday, around two weeks after the landmark inter-Korean summit on April 27.
He is scheduled to have an audience with Emperor Akihito and to make a speech at a reception hosted by business leaders in Tokyo on Thursday. From Thursday night through Friday afternoon, he is scheduled to visit the northernmost main island of Hokkaido.
The following is the gist of summit talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Japan and China agree:
-- on implementation of Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism in East China Sea.
-- to work for Abe's visit to China by end of this year and Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Japan in future.
-- to promote joint production of movies in the two countries.
-- to set up expert group to discuss withdrawal or easing of Chinese bans imposed on imports of food products from Japan in response to disaster at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
-- on bilateral social security agreement that would eliminate dual burden of social security payments by Japanese expats in China and vice versa.
-- to resume bilateral currency swap line in times of financial emergency.
-- to launch public-private sector council to consider specific projects of cooperation related to Beijing's "One Belt, One Road" cross-border infrastructure initiative.
-- to cooperate to implement U.N. sanctions against North Korea.
-- to work in tandem to resolve issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents in 1970s and 1980s.
-- to donate pair of crested ibises to Japan.