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Abe repeats call for talks with Xi at next APEC meeting

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday repeated his desire to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit talks in Beijing in November.

“I hope to have a Japan-China summit meeting during the APEC forum in November,” Abe said at a press conference in Sao Paulo when asked about strained relations between the two Asian neighbors.

“Japan and China should talk because we have issues to solve,” he said. “My door is always open for dialogue, and I would like China to have the same attitude.”

Since assuming the premiership for the second time in December 2012, Abe has been unable to hold one-on-one talks with Xi as the two countries remain at odds over territory and perceptions of history.

Beijing has said there will be no summit talks unless Tokyo changes its stance on the Senkaku Islands, a string of uninhabited islets off Taiwan in the East China Sea controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.

On the issue of Russia’s support of separatists in Ukraine, Abe said Japan will continue to work closely with its Group of Seven partners for a peaceful solution. “No schedule has been set up” for a visit to Japan by Russian President Vladimir Putin later this year, he added.

Abe stressed that the economy remains his top priority as he wages an unorthodox battle with deflation.

Japan will also accelerate work on legislation for a major security policy shift that would allow it to legally come to the defense of allies under armed attack by exercising the right to collective self-defense, he said.