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China, Japan resume high-level talks over maritime issues after sea claims cause strain


BEIJING — China and Japan resumed high-level talks on maritime issues this week, in a sign that they want to improve relations badly strained in recent years by territorial disputes and wartime historical issues.

Senior ministry officials met for two days in China's eastern city of Qingdao to exchange views on issues in the East China Sea and maritime cooperation, China's official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said the two sides agreed to hold talks on setting up a maritime hotline between their defense ministries.

Japan's Kyodo News agency also reported that a Chinese vice premier separately commented on Wednesday that he wants an early resumption of a high-level economic talks with Japan, which have been suspended since 2010.

Wang Yang, the vice premier who oversees international trade, made the remarks when he met a Japanese business mission headed by Toyota Motor Corp. Honorary Chairman Fujio Cho, Kyodo said.

Anti-Japanese sentiments have been running high in China since 2012 over a disputed chain of uninhabited islets in East China Sea, which is known as Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkakus in Japanese.

Beijing also has clashed with Tokyo over lingering wartime issues and criticized Japan for its militant aggression against China during World War II.

Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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