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In the political area, Li said at Thursday's reception that China and Japan have agreed that they will use history as a mirror while keeping a future-oriented mind, and maintain high-level exchanges.

The deal is the latest result of a push to improve ties strained by lingering acrimony over Japan's wartime occupation of swathes of China and a dispute over the ownership of islets in the East China Sea.

The hotline for senior military officials to communicate in the case of incidents involving their navies or air forces will be launched within 30 days under an agreement signed after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. The pact provides for meetings between both nations' defence officials and a mechanism for their naval vessels to communicate at sea to avert maritime incidents.

A trilateral business summit attended by leaders and business representatives from Korea, Japan and China took place in Tokyo on Wednesday, jointly hosted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Japan Business Federation and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

They expressed confidence in the improvement in bilateral ties and believed that the ties will continue the health and stable development.

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"I want to raise Japan-China relations to a new level", Abe said, adding that he also planned to visit Beijing later this year.

Li's visit to Japan is the first by a Chinese premier in eight years.

"The volume of trade in the China-Japan-South Korea zone is 23 percent of the global trade turnover, while in the European Union and NAFTA the figure stands at 21 percent and 27 percent, respectively".

Li also referenced US President Donald Trump's recent protectionist rhetoric towards China, saying "we are all beneficiaries of free trade and even though various issues have emerged, these should not stand in the way..."

"But cooperating under the belt and road plan will be good for Japan too, because it's an opportunity for Japan to reach broader markets through this New Silk Road".


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