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Premier urges Japan to stop hyping maritime issue

By ZHAO HUANXIN in Ulaanbaatar and ZHANG YUNBI in Beijing ( Updated: 2016-07-15 21:49

Premier Li Keqiang told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday that Japan should "be cautious in words and actions" and "should not hype and interfere in the South China Sea issue".

Li and Abe met at the request of the Japanese on the sidelines of the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, which will run from Friday to Saturday in Ulaanbaatar.

Observers noted that Li made the comments as Tokyo had publicly pressed Beijing recently to accept the Tuesday ruling of an arbitral case unilaterally raised by the Philippines about the South China Sea.

Li told Abe the two sides should properly manage and control contradictions and divergences, and Japan was not a country directly concerning the South China Sea issue.

Abe said although difficulties still clouded Japan-China ties, Tokyo hoped to reinforce exchanges and cooperation and appropriately manage divergences.

China's position on the South China Sea issue "completely abides by international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea", Li said.

The Declaration, a document signed by China and all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2002, requires peaceful resolution of disputes through friendly consultation and negotiation.

On the two-way ties, Li Keqiang said: "In recent years, the China-Japan relationship initiated its process of heading toward improvement, but the pace is sluggish and has been disturbed by some complicated factors from time to time."

Japan should conduct positive and friendly policy towards China, and the two countries should gradually resume dialogues, Li said.

Abe voiced hopes about resuming bilateral high-level economic dialogues.

Both Li and Abe stated their readiness to boost anti-terrorism cooperation.

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