Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the first in nearly 18 months, seemed like deja vu all over again.

The meeting Monday in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, held after a two-day summit of the Group of 20 major economies, took place under circumstances similar to those in 2014, including renewed tensions over the Senkaku Islands that Japan controls but China claims.

The outcome of their half-hour conversation turned out to be largely a replay of what they confirmed when they finally held their first face-to-face talks in November of that year in Beijing, just ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.