Japanese PM Abe vows to improve ties with China

Japanese PM Abe vows to improve ties with China

Japan's Prime Minister headed for Beijing for his first formal bilateral summit with Chinese leaders in seven years as the Asian rivals seek to build on a thaw in ties against a backdrop of trade friction with Washington.

China has stepped up its outreach to Japan and others as it has locked horns over trade with the United States.

Japan, worried about China's growing naval power, is keen for smooth economic ties with its biggest trading partner. It must manage that rapprochement without upsetting its key security ally, the United States, with which it has trade problems of its own. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who returned to power in 2012 when Sino-Japanese ties were in tatters due to a feud over east china sea islands, has met Chinese President Xi Jinping many times since their first chilly conversation in 2014 on the sidelines of a regional summit in Beijing.

But his meeting with xi on Friday will be the first full-scale Sino-Japanese summit since 2011.

Abe will meet Premier Li Keqiang and attend a reception to mark the 40th anniversary of a peace and friendship treaty today. Both sides hope more visits will follow.