China proposed the new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday to meet Beijing ‘halfway’, in order to improve relations that have been affected by the territorial conflict regarding the Senkaku islands.
“We hope the new Japanese administration will meet the Chinese side halfway and make concrete efforts to overcome difficulties in bilateral relations,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
“Such efforts are needed in order to push bilateral relations back on to the normal track of development”, she added.
Hua’s speech came after Abe was selected as Japan’s prime minister by the lower house of parliament on December 26, following victory by his Liberal Democratic Party in elections earlier this month.
“We are ready to work with the Japanese side to push forward the steady and sound development of bilateral relations,” Hua said.
China and Japan share a dispute over several small islands in the East China. Both Japan and China claim the territory, although Japan controls it at the moment. China calls them the Diaoyu Islands, while Japan refers to them as the Senkaku Islands.
Hua called the islands “China’s inherent territory,” adding that Beijing wants to solve the conflict “through dialogue and negotiation.”
“The pressing task for Japan now is to show sincerity and take concrete actions to overcome the current situation and improve bilateral relations,” she said.