In the pair's first talks, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping to closely cooperate in further developing bilateral ties, despite differences over thorny issues.

"Stable relations between Japan and China are extremely important not only for both countries but for the region and the international community, and that we both have a responsibility in this regard," Suga, who took office last week, said he told Xi over the phone Friday.

He said the two leaders agreed to "work closely together at a high level" going forward.