China hopes Abe will work with Beijing to improve soured ties.
China expressed hope Wednesday that Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, will work with Beijing to improve bilateral relations strained by disputes over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, administered by Japan but claimed by China.
"We hope Japan's new government will make concrete efforts to work with China in a same direction so as to overcome difficulties in bilateral relations and make China-Japan relations back to a normal track of development," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press conference.
Hua said China and Japan are "important, close neighbors" and healthy and stable ties will benefit the two countries and their peoples.
Hua reiterated, however, China's claim the Senkaku Islands, which it calls Diaoyu, are part of its inherent territory and that Beijing's determination to safeguard its national sovereignty and territory is unswerving.
"We always insist that disputes between China and its neighbors be solved through dialogue and negotiations," she said. "We hope the Japanese side will show sincerity."