The leaders of Japan and China have held landmark talks on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific conference in Beijing.
There have been deep tensions between the two countries for the past couple of years following a dispute over territory.
On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a joint statement agreeing to gradually resume political, diplomatic and security talks.
The Japanese prime minister said it was a first step towards reconciliation.
“I believe that not only our Asian neighbours but many other countries have long hoped that Japan and China will hold talks. We have finally lived up to their expectations and made a first step to improve our ties,” he said.
At times the fallout over the strategically important East China Sea islands had raised fears of a military conflict between Asia’s two largest economies.
China also has been angry over what it sees as Japan downplaying its invasion and occupation of China in WWII.
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