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China, Japan’s leaders meet briefly on sidelines of Apec summit

China’s President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have met briefly on the sidelines of a two-day Apec summit in Lima, Peru.

Yasuhisa Kawamura, a spokesman for Abe, said the two Asian leaders “stepped a couple of paces towards each other” after a group meeting of 21 leaders on Sunday morning and the meeting “was a natural movement”.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a one-line statement that Xi had a brief conversation with Abe in Lima “at the invitation of the Japanese side”.

Abe told Xi that Japan was looking forward to two important anniversaries to improve ties between Japan and China, Kawamura said.

These were the 45th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two nations next year and the 40th anniversary of the Japan-China peace and friendship treaty, which falls in 2018, he said.

Japan is hosting a China–Japan–South Korea summit before the end of this year and Abe would like to “have a fruitful meeting” with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the Japanese spokesman said.

Xi told Abe he would also like to “promote productive discussion and manage pending issues in an appropriate manner and control national emotion and sentiment”, according to Kawamura.

Chinese spokesman Lu said in his statement that Xi had expressed China’s stance and principles on the development of Sino-Japanese ties.

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Xi told Abe in September on the sidelines of a G20 summit in China that Japan should “put aside disruptions” to put the countries ties back on a normal track.

September’s meeting marked the two leaders’ first one-on-one talks in 17 months.

Ties between China and Japan have been strained over issues including territorial disputes in the East China Sea.