[BEIJING] China and Japan "need each other", Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday as he called for the Asian neighbours to press ahead with tentative efforts to put deep hostility behind them.
"Japan and China, we need each other. We are in a way inseparably bound with each other," Abe told reporters in Beijing after an Asia-Pacific summit.
"Japan and China both have responsibility for peace and prosperity of the region and of the world." Beijing and Tokyo's historically frosty relations have plunged to their lowest in decades over competing claims to Japanese-controlled islets in the East China Sea, and Tokyo's 20th-century history of aggression.
But Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Abe on Monday in Beijing on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit hosted this year by China.
The rare encounter - the first by leaders of the world's second- and third-largest economies in three years - has raised hopes of a possible thaw.
"Many countries of the world are expecting to see an improvement of the relationship between Japan and China," Abe said.
Earlier Tuesday, the United States welcomed the Xi-Abe meeting.
"We welcome the meeting yesterday between President Xi and PM Abe. It's an opportunity to reduce the tensions between the two countries," deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters in Beijing.