China urges joint efforts with Japan for relations development

China opposes Japan's Diaoyu claim

During the meeting, both China and Japan have reiterated their stance not to recognize North Korea as a nuclear state, while Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has called for stricter measures against the DPRK amid their ballistic missile tests, with one of the ballistic missiles fired over Japan's Hokkaido last August.

Later in the day, Kono, who arrived in Beijing on Saturday, is scheduled to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi, the nation's top diplomat, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

Kono will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Sunday.

He is also aiming to promote arrangements with China to participate in a delayed trilateral summit with South Korea, the Foreign Ministry said.

Some military experts believe the vessel was forced to surface, but others say there is not enough information to back up that theory.

Kono told Wang that China and Japan "have a major responsibility in safeguarding the stability and prosperity of Asia and the world at large", and expressed hopes for improved ties.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have yet to exchange official visits due in part to the row over the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea that Beijing claims.

Kono's visit came as the two countries celebrate the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which is of special and great significance to bilateral ties.

"Not only do we need to manage our bilateral relations, but we also need to work together to deal with issues facing the entire globe, in particular the issue of North Korea, which is the matter at hand for the worldwide community as a whole", Kono said.

A Japanese worldwide relations expert, who declined to be named because he is involved with a diplomatic mission in China, said although this year was likely to see a thawing in relations between the two countries, security in the East China Sea would remain a key concern for Japan.

Zhou Yongsheng, a Japanese affairs expert at China Foreign Affairs University, said Kono's trip had mostly fulfilled Japan's agenda and served to move bilateral relations in a positive direction.

Both sides also pledged to sign an agreement "as soon as possible" to establish a military hotline to help prevent incidents in the East China Sea.

Tokyo's decision to "nationalize" some of the islets in 2012 led to a major falling out and the relationship has been slow to recover.

The museum, which opened Thursday and is run by the Japanese government, displays documents and photographs defending Japan's claims over two sets of islands that China and South Korea also see as their own.

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