Beijing: After over two years of bitter fracas on the disputed islands in East China sea, China and Japan today reached a four-point agreement to bury the hatchet and normalise bilateral ties between Asia's two biggest economies.
Ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit here to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, to be held on November 10-11, the two sides reached a four- point agreement to improve bilateral ties, agreeing to resume political, diplomatic and security dialogue, while acknowledging different positions on the disputed islands.
The agreement was reached as Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi met with visiting National Security Advisor of Japan Shotaro Yachi, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The agreement in principle was expected to pave the way for the first one-to-one meeting between Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of APEC summit that remained elusive for over an year.
The showdown between the two countries began when Japan nationalised the islands called by China as Diaoyu islands, which were referred as Senkakus in the East China Sea.
The islands were in the administrative control of Japan.
In the last two years, China tried breaking that control by pressing its naval vessels and aircraft to aggressively patrol the islands waters and skies, often jostling with Japanese vessels.
Beijing also launched a massive propaganda offensive against Tokyo, highlighting the World War-II excesses committed by Japanese troops, besides Abe's attempts to change Japan's pacifist constitution.
In what appeared to be a thinly veiled reference to Abe's recent visit to controversial Yasukuni war-shrine, the statement added, "In the spirit of facing history squarely and looking forward to the future, the two sides have reached some agreement on overcoming political obstacles in the bilateral relations," state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The Yasukuni war-shrine honours Japan's war dead in World War-II including convicted war-criminals. For China, it is a symbol of Japan's aggressive militarist past and its expansionist history.
On disputed islands, the two sides have acknowledged differences and agreed to prevent the situation from aggravating through dialogue and consultation and establish crisis management mechanisms to avoid contingencies.
The two sides have agreed to gradually resume political, diplomatic and security dialogue through various multilateral and bilateral channels and to make efforts to build mutual political trust.
The agreement came as the two sides were concerned about the negative impact of the diplomatic tussle between Asia's two biggest economies.
Both the countries had over USD 314 billion bilateral trade between them, which was expected to touch about USD 380 billion this year.
Japan has also invested heavily in China's infrastructure sector, but Japanese investments in China dipped by almost 50 per cent in the first half of this year, pointing to the seriousness of the diplomatic flare-up between the two neighbours.
Yachi said during the meeting that Japan attaches great importance to the strategic relationship of mutual benefit with China.
Japan stands ready to conduct dialogue and consultation with China to enhance common understanding and mutual trust, and properly handle disagreement and sensitive issues, he said.