September 29, 2015 / 2:01 PM / in 2 years

Japan's Abe calls for 'amicable' and 'stable' China relationship

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that Japan needed to develop a stable and amicable relationship with China.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks before attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

“Already we have gone through several rounds of summit meetings and we are steadfastly moving to further develop a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests,” Abe said at Bloomberg headquarters in New York.

Asked by Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg how Japan would deal with China’s economic slowdown, Abe said:

“Certainly we export a lot, we invest a lot in China. Therefore the economic relationship between Japan and China is very close in the field of trade and investment. And therefore there is a need, we have to watch very carefully the path of the Chinese economy.”

Abe has tried to improve relations with China, but progress has been slow over Japan’s perceived failure to atone for its wartime aggression and China’s increasingly assertive tone in territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas.

Ties have thawed slightly since Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at international gatherings in April and last November, but the diplomatic relationship between Asia’s two biggest economic powers is far from friendly.

“We need to develop our amicable relationship, a stable relationship, between Japan and China. I think both countries should make efforts to that end,” said Abe, who is New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly.

Abe said Japan’s economic fundamentals were “rock solid,” and added:

“In the event that due to external factors, if our economy is going to experience major confusions, then we will have a flexible economic management policy in place so that we will be prepared.”

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Grant McCool

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