The foreign ministers of China and Japan broke a lengthy diplomatic silence yesterday, holding official talks for the first time in two years in an apparent effort to prepare for a meeting between the two countries' leaders in the next few days. Wang Yi met Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the Apec ministerial meeting in Beijing. They agreed to work together to improve a relationship that has been bruised by maritime territorial disputes and differences over wartime history. Both sides have been coy about publicly confirming whether President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold talks this week. Wang told Kishida that healthy ties depended on whether Japan could "reflect on itself" and commit to resolving the basic underlying strains on ties, Xinhua reported. Abe arrives in Beijing today and could meet Xi as early as this afternoon. It is unclear whether the two leaders will meet formally or informally or for how long. Wang said the four-point accord struck between State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Japanese National Security Adviser Shotaro Yachi on Friday was an important step towards improving bilateral relations. After the meeting, Kishida said he agreed with Wang to improve bilateral cooperation by working to resume multiple high-level talks. "I believe this meeting served as an important opportunity to change gears to put Japan-China [relations] back on the path of normal relations," Kishida said. Ties between the neighbours have hit new lows since Abe took power in 2012. High-level exchanges have been largely halted and the two countries' leaders have not met since they took power. There are high hopes that this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders summit, to be held in Beijing tomorrow and on Tuesday, could be a chance for a historic meeting between the two leaders. Friday's agreement says both sides recognise "different views" exist in the territorial dispute over the disputed East China Sea island chain known as the Diaoyus in China and Senkakus in Japan. The accord also seeks to gradually resume diplomatic, political and security talks. US Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the accord and said the US appreciated the countries' efforts to mend ties.