• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping have agreed to improve relations ahead of the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China.

Abe also invited Premier Li Keqiang to Japan to hold a trilateral summit with South Korea later this year.

Abe and Xi met Sunday in Lima. Xi gave no clear answer to the Li invitation, according to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami, who briefed reporters on the roughly 10-minute-long meeting.

Abe and Xi met amid growing uncertainty about whether South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who is facing calls to resign due to an influence-peddling scandal, can visit Japan for a summit the three countries have agreed to hold before the end of this year.

“I want to improve bilateral ties across the board and forge a stable and good relationship by resolving issues in an appropriate manner and from a comprehensive viewpoint,” Abe was quoted as telling Xi on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which is being held this year in the Peruvian capital.

Nogami quoted Xi as responding: “I was impressed with the prime minister’s words. It is important to settle issues properly and increase popular sentiment toward improving ties.”

Japan and China have been at odds over issues such as Beijing’s claim to the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

Abe and Xi did not discuss topics related to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and North Korea’s nuclear arms program, according to Nogami.

Abe told Xi that a three-way summit with the Chinese and South Korean leaders would be the first opportunity for Li to visit Japan as premier, saying he “hoped it would be a fruitful visit in the context of bilateral relations (with China).”

Abe and Xi last met in early September in China on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit.

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