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International relations

Japan's PM Abe to visit China for 3 days from Oct. 25

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit China for three days from Oct. 25, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday.

It will mark the first time for a Japanese prime minister to travel to China primarily to hold formal bilateral talks with Chinese leaders since Yoshihiko Noda did so in December 2011.

Abe's visit will be made at the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a press briefing.

"Japan is an important neighbor of China," Lu said, adding, "We have to confirm that we are cooperative partners and we will not become threats for each other."

Abe and Chinese leaders are expected to exchange views on how to improve and develop bilateral ties and discuss international issues of mutual concern, Lu added.

For years, Tokyo and Beijing had been mired in a territorial row over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The group of uninhabited islets, which are called Diaoyu in China, are controlled by Japan but claimed by Beijing.

The dispute particularly intensified after the Japanese government of Noda, Abe's predecessor, decided to bring the Senkakus under state control in September 2012.

But the situation has drastically changed recently, as this year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing and taking effect of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China.

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