China and Japan capped a restoration of ties with agreements on everything from currency swaps to ocean rescue Friday, a thaw that comes as President Donald Trump seeks better trade terms with both nations. For Tokyo, these bilateral talks showcase Japan's commitment to diplomacy, deepen economic engagement with China, and build multilateral trade by accelerating both the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (an alternative to TPP) and trilateral negotiations between for a South Korea, Japan, and China free-trade agreement.
"These interactions will help to further strengthen our trade and investment ties, and cooperation in new areas such as healthcare, digital technologies, agriculture and food processing, disaster risk reduction and disaster resilient infrastructure", he said.
The sides also signed about 50 agreements on boosting cooperation in third-party countries, while companies agreed more than 500 business deals.
RCEP is a free-trade agreement proposed by China with South-East Asia and various countries on the Pacific Rim, including Japan.
As part of efforts to promote high-level reciprocal visits, Abe plans to invite Xi to visit Japan in June next year, when the Group of 20 summit will be held in Osaka. Vijay Gokhale, India's Foreign Secretary, said that the meeting between Abe and Xi Jinping would have no bearing on his summit with Modi.
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The arrangement, which takes effect on Friday and lasts until October 25, 2021, will allow the exchange of local currencies between the two central banks for up to 200 billion yuan or 3.4 trillion yen ($30 billion), the Bank of Japan said.
"From competition to co-existence, Japan and China bilateral relations have entered a new phase", Mr Abe said at a briefing.
Abe returned to power in 2012 when Sino-Japanese ties were in tatters due to a feud over East China Sea islands, and the territorial dispute remains a key source of friction between the two countries.
Japan has also been looking forward to increasing cooperation with China on issues such as environmental protection, scientific and technological breakthrough, and projects that would provide services to China's aging population. "We believe this is the first time a foreign leader is visiting PM Abe's holiday home", Gokhale said, referring to the dinner for Modi. It follows Japan's previously foreshadowed decision to stop providing China with official development assistance, which Abe argued had "completed its historical mission" over the past 40 years.
Mr Abe also said Tokyo was "determined" to normalise diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, but only if preconditions were met, including denuclearisation and the release of kidnapped Japanese citizens.
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Abe realises that Japan's future economic prosperity requires increased trade with China, now Japan's largest trading partner.
Abe's three-day trip sets up the possibility that Xi will visit Japan next year.
"In the past several years, the China-Japan relationship has experienced ups and downs".
The move triggered anti-Japan demonstrations across China, and things worsened after Abe - who was subsequently described as an "unwelcome person" - visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which commemorates Japan's 2.5 million war dead.
China is unlikely to change its position on territorial claims, but during Friday's meetings, Li expressed Beijing's willingness to work together with Tokyo to address regional security issues and support efforts toward dialogue and improving relations with North Korea.
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