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World Japan's Abe speaks to China's Xi on the phone in a historic first

21:26  04 may  2018
21:26  04 may  2018 Source:   cnn.com

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After a breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the situation on the phone , the first time leaders of the two countries had ever done so.

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BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping (R), during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People, on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings, November 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. APEC Economic Leaders' Meetings and APEC summit is being held at Beijing's outskirt Yanqi Lake. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon-Pool/Getty Images) © Kim Kyung-Hoon-Pool/Getty Images BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping (R), during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People, on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings, November 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. APEC Economic Leaders' Meetings and APEC summit is being held at Beijing's outskirt Yanqi Lake. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon-Pool/Getty Images)

A rising diplomatic tide really does lift all boats.

After a breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the situation on the phone Friday, the first time leaders of the two countries had ever done so.

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Japan has “ended its historical mission” to assist China financially, Mr. Abe said at a reception after his arrival on Thursday night. Mr. Abe has visited China four times, meeting Mr. Xi on the sidelines of various international gatherings, but this was the first invitation extended for an official bilateral

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"It is the first time that the Prime Minister of Japan and the President of China have held telephone talks," Abe told reporters afterward. "This means Japan-China relations are really improving."

He said he agreed with Xi on the importance of the inclusion of "complete denuclearization" in the Panmunjom Declaration signed last week by the leaders of North and South Korea.

In a separate call with Xi, South Korean President Moon Jae-in thanked the Chinese leader for his "support and encouragement" of the inter-Korean talks, according to Moon's office.

The Panmunjom Declaration committed Seoul and Pyongyang to seeking a formal end to the Korean War, which never officially ended despite an armistice signed in 1953. China was a participant in the war and a signatory to the armistice agreement that ended the fighting, and its support would be necessary for a formal peace treaty to be agreed upon.

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Japan ' s Emperor Akihito has declared his abdication in a historic ceremony at the Imperial Palace in In a short ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed the emperor, saying: "While keeping in our Image copyright Reuters. Image caption Akihito is the first Japanese emperor to step down in

Xi and Moon said Friday they would "communicate closely and actively cooperate during the process of declaring the end of the war."

The leaders of South Korea, China and Japan will meet Wednesday for the first trilateral talks between the three countries since 2015.

Improving relations

While Beijing's ties with Seoul have improved considerably as Moon has sought a diplomatic solution to the North Korea crisis, relations with Tokyo have always been more strained.

Bitter territorial disputes over islands in the East China Sea and long-running grievances dating back to World War II have dogged the Japan-China relationship for decades.

But amid a joint fear of being left out of diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula and regional tremors caused by President Donald Trump's economic isolationism, China and Japan have found they have more in common than ever before.

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President Xi Jinping of China in Lima, Peru, last year. The fact that President Trump and Mr. Xi had not talked since Mr. Trump took office in January had drawn increasing scrutiny.Credit Cris Bouroncle/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

China – Japan relations or Sino- Japanese relations are the international relations between the People' s Republic of China and Japan . The countries are geographically separated by the East China Sea.

Later this month, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is due to visit Japan for the first time in eight years, and he is expected to meet with Emperor Akihito.

It will be the first time one of China's top leaders has met with the Japanese emperor since Xi, then vice president, saw Akihito in Tokyo in 2009.

"There has been a significant warming of relations between the two sides," said Rana Mitter, a professor of history at the University of Oxford. However, he pointed out the "overall strategic points haven't really changed."

"China is still spending a lot on the (army), navy; Japan continues to have an abiding concern that the primary purpose of the Chinese expansion is to change the rules of the regional order," he said.

CNN's Junko Ogura reported from Tokyo, while Ben Westcott and James Griffiths reported and wrote from Hong Kong. CNN's Sophie Jeong contributed to the report from Seoul, South Korea.

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