Japan, China strike deals during Abe visit as ties improve

Shinzo Abe attends at the ASEM leaders summit in Brussels Belgium Friday. Francois Lenoir, Reuters

Shinzo Abe attends at the ASEM leaders summit in Brussels Belgium Friday. Francois Lenoir, Reuters

He said discussions will also take place on Delhi's mass rapid transit system, some hydro electric and road projects and how Japan can help in improving infrastructure in the Northeastern states.

The Trump administration has imposed huge trade tariffs which it says are in retaliation for other countries' unfair trade practices.

Japanese officials reaffirmed Friday that it would not compromise or back down on issues including China's human rights record.

Some other users urged caution during Abe's visit, accusing an "ambitious" Japan of being a two-faced neighbor.

Even though Abe spent just three days in China, observers said the trip was an important step in the two countries' rapprochement, and was partly triggered by the uncertainty that has grown up around the United States' policies in Asia since Donald Trump took over as USA president.

Although the two leaders have met at various events, Tokyo-Beijing relations have been cool over the past seven years, mainly over territorial disputes in the East China Sea and Chinese island-building in the South China Sea. At the forum, Abe took the opportunity to once again emphasize the need to follow global standards for infrastructure projects and to take into account the financial position of recipient countries.

Modi said it will be his 12th meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since he first toured Japan as prime minister in September 2014.

Pointing out that Japan-China relations are moving into a new dimension following China's economic growth, Abe asked Beijing for cooperation on investing in infrastructure in third countries.

Speaking at a briefing for reporters, Osuga said ties had recovered from what had been "not normal relations with a neighboring country", but said differences remained.

As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, it provides a good opportunity for the two sides to review the important commitment made 40 years ago and the development of relations over the past 40 years, said Takahara. The last such visit was in late 2011.

Hu Lingyuan, director of the Center for Japanese Studies at China's Fudan University, said Trump's trade policy had contributed to closer Sino-Japanese ties.

"Prime Minister Abe reiterated his view that, without stability in the East China Sea, there will not be a true improvement of the relationship", Osuga said.

Unlike the United States, Vogel said, Japan never harbored illusions that China would become like the West, an outlook that has led to more realistic expectations about the extent of a possible rapprochement.

And while Japan has been critical of Mr Trump's policy of slapping tariffs on China, Mr Abe's government shares some USA concerns on trade and investment. They are also expected to discuss North Korea and the U.S.

China's nationalistic Global Times said in an editorial that "though the United States is quite an influential factor in China-Japan ties, the effect is limited".

He vowed to elevate the relationship to a new level through the visit.

Yuichiro Tamaki, the leader of an opposition party, said that even some younger lawmakers in Mr Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party are cautious about the relationship.

"Just looking how the flags of both countries are hung next to each other on Changan Avenue makes me uncomfortable", said a user on China's Weibo microblog platform.

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