The historic meeting between the leaders of China and Japan, held hours before the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting convened in Beijing, hopefully will lead to an easing of tensions between the two countries, ending a period when the relationship was in free fall.

While the four-point agreement announced on Nov. 7 prior to a meeting on Monday between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was commendable, neither side has actually changed its position in public.

Thus Xi, commenting on "severe difficulties" in the relationship, said "the rights and wrongs behind them are crystal clear," implying the responsibility was on the Japanese side.