PM Narendra Modi's Japan visit aimed at boosting strategic global partnership (Curtainraiser)

Japan to sign peace treaty with Russia, Abe says

Japan to sign peace treaty with Russia, Abe says

The two countries will also sign an agreement to facilitate cooperation over search and rescue operations in the event of accidents in waters off the two countries, the sources said.

"From competition to co-existence, Japan and China bilateral relations have entered a new phase", the Japanese premier told reporters in Beijing.

Abe met earlier Friday with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and signed a broad range of agreements, including a 30-billion USA dollar currency swap pact.

Relations between Asia's two biggest economies have improved in recent years after they sunk to new lows in 2012, when Tokyo "nationalized" disputed islands claimed by Taiwan and China.

Li called for an early conclusion to an Asia-Pacific nations trade pact that includes 16 countries but not the US.

Experts here also pointed out that the improvement of ties between the two countries is particularly significant under the current circumstances with rising trade protectionism in the world.

The sides also signed about 50 agreements on boosting cooperation in third-party countries, while companies agreed more than 500 business deals.

The bilateral agreement covered a range of issues such as counter-terrorism operations, narcotics trading, intelligence sharing, natural disaster relief efforts as well as China's construction activities in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).

When Abe meets Li, they are likely to agree on the need to promote the interconnectivity of the region's economies amid China's deepening trade war with the United States.

In a sign of a thaw, Mr. Abe is making the first visit by a Japanese leader to China in 11 years.

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Beijing and Tokyo have historically had very different relationships with Washington - one borderline adversarial, the other a close alliance - but both countries now face similar complaints from the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump's effort to win more favourable trade deals for the US has focused most heavily on China, source of the biggest American trade deficit and the target of complaints over Beijing's policies for building leadership in advanced technologies.

China and Japan commemorated the 40 years to the treaty of peace and friendship between the two countries.

At a joint news conference following the meeting, Prime Minister Abe said, "We confirmed that we are cooperative partners and absolutely do not pose a threat to each other".

During his evening meeting with Xi at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, the Japanese prime minister said, "We (Japan) would like to join hands with China in contributing to peace and stability in the world".

On Friday Mr Abe met his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang, and he is due to meet President Xi Jinping later.

Mr Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to discuss how to improve economic cooperation as the world's second and third largest economies prepare to weather a U.S. onslaught of trade measures. "We believe this is the first time a foreign leader is visiting PM Abe's holiday home", Gokhale said, referring to the dinner for Modi.

The North Korean conflict remains a contentious issue between China and Japan.

"Their concern is if relations continue to worsen there's going to be an American market and a (separate, closed) Chinese market. which will add to the cost of business of Japanese companies", he said.

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