Japanese and Chinese officials will hold their first security talks in more than four years later this month, Japan’s foreign ministry said.
The meeting, to be held in Tokyo on March 19, is a sign of a further improvement in the Asian neighbors’ relations that have been badly strained in recent years amid disputes over maritime territory and wartime history, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It will be the 13th meeting of the Japan-China security dialogue. The last meeting took place in January 2011 in Beijing.
The Japanese side will be led by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Shinsuke Sugiyama, who will be joined by officials from the foreign and defense ministries.
Liu Jianchao, China’s assistant minister of foreign affairs, will lead the Chinese delegation.
The announcement of the talks follows other recent signs of an improvement in the two nations’ relationship, which has veered close to open conflict in the past two years due to a dispute over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan but claimed by China, the newspaper said.
The islands are known as the Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkakus in Japanese.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met in Beijing in November, on the sidelines of an annual summit of Asia Pacific Economic Conference.
Their meeting, though brief and chilly, raised hopes for further progress in improving relations between Asia’s two biggest economies. Xi had previously refused to meet with Abe.
The two leaders agreed to start preparing a crisis management system to prevent accidents at sea after several incidents in which ships and fighter jets from the two countries came dangerously close to each other. They also agreed to resume dialogue gradually on bilateral and regional issues.
Beijing this week announced plans to host a large-scale military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. It is unclear whether Japan will be invited to the parade.
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