China has cautiously welcomed a landmark deal struck by Japan and South Korea on the issue of Korean women who were forced into wartime brothels for the Japanese military.

"We hope that an improvement in relations between South Korea and Japan will be conducive to this region's stability and development," the Foreign Ministry's top spokesman, Lu Kang, told a regular press briefing Monday.

As with South Korea, Japan's relations with China have often been strained by what Beijing sees as Tokyo's failure to properly atone for the suffering it caused before and during World War II.