Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets Abe adviser amid strains over Japan's military ambitions

Relationship between the two countries still "sensitive and complex", Li tells Shotaro Yachi, a major architect of Japan's foreign and security policies

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 July, 2015, 12:25pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 July, 2015, 2:49am

A key adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Premier Li Keqiang on Friday amid strained relations between the two countries over the approval by Japan's lower house of a set of controversial security bills that would allow its military to fight overseas under certain circumstances.

Li told Shotaro Yachi, a major architect of Abe's foreign and security policies, that the relationship between China and Japan was still "sensitive and complex".

China would strive to develop and maintain a stable international and regional environment for the country's growth, and Japan should stick to a peaceful development strategy and work for regional stability, Li was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

"Whether relations are good or bad does not only affect the well-being of both our countries' people, but has an important effect upon regional peace, stability and prosperity," Li said.

After the meeting, which lasted a little over 30 minutes, a Japanese official said both sides agreed on the need for "top-level dialogue" and to "control differences" for the development of the two countries.

Yachi and Li did not discuss issues such as a statement Abe is to issue in August to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war, a big concern for Beijing as to whether it can strengthen ties. Beijing will hold a major ceremony on September 3 for the anniversary, which it calls its day of victory in an eight-year war of resistance against Japanese aggression.

China has invited Abe, along with other world leaders, to be part of the commemoration. Abe is not planning to attend the event, partly because it includes a major military parade in Tiananmen Square, but is considering visiting Beijing either before or after September 3 for what could be his third meeting with President Xi Jinping .

Yachi, the secretariat head of Japan's National Security Council, also held talks with China's Defence Minister, Chang Wanquan .

Chang told Yachi the passage of the bill - which must be deliberated by the upper house - was an "unprecedented move" that would "have a complicated influence on regional security and strategic stability", Xinhua said.

He urged the Japanese to "learn from history, respect major security concerns of its neighbours" and to do no harm to "regional peace and stability", Xinhua added.

Beijing was preparing for "high-level political dialogue" with Japan, China's top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi , told Yachi on Thursday, fuelling speculation of a leaders' summit as early as September.

Reporting by Kyodo and Reuters