China and Japan agreed to step up efforts to improve their relations frozen over rival claims on a group of islands as the Foreign Ministers of the world's second and the third-largest economies held rare talks after a gap of over four years.
On a fence mending visit, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida held talks with Chinesecounterpart Wang Yi. He also met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and State Councillor Yang Jiechi.
Receiving Kishida, Wang said "if you come with sincerity we welcome you".
"We have seen signs of improvement in China-Japan relations. However, there is still a lack of mutual trust between the two sides. Your visit this time is of positive significance," Wang said.
Outlining China's thinking over shoring up the ties between the two countries, Wang said they should have a more positive and healthy attitude toward the growth of China and should stop spreading or echoing all kinds of "China threat" or "China economic recession" theories.
Kishida highlighted that China's development means opportunities for Japan, saying that the Japanese side commends China for its positive role and contributions in many international and regional affairs.
As the world's third- and second-largest economies, Japan and China shoulder more responsibilities for the development and prosperity of Asia and beyond, Kishida said.
The two ministers agreed to step up efforts to accelerate the pace of improvement in political relations, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.
High-level ties between the two countries have remained largely frozen since Japan nationalised a group of uninhabited East China Sea islands claimed by China in 2012. The move sparked deep anger in China.
The uninhabited islands - believed to be rich with oil and minerals - are called Senkakus by Japan andDiaoyu by China.
The island dispute led to polarisation of sentiments in both the countries affecting their flourishing trade ties.
Kishida stressed the need of stronger mutual trust by promoting cooperation in various nonpolitical fields, such as economics, the environment and youth exchanges, according to the ministry.
Wang said that China-Japan ties must be based on "respect for history, adherence to commitment and cooperation rather than confrontation."
Wang said China and Japan are neighbours and stressed that China is willing to develop a healthy and stable relationship with Japan.