BEIJING – The leaders of China and Japan said Friday they would work together as defenders of free trade and deal with warming relations, as both face tough trade deals with President Trump. A visit by a Japanese leader to China in seven years paid no heed to Mr. Trump 's visit and expressed some concerns of the US President regarding China 's state – run economic model when he met Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Abe, the second and third largest economies in the world after the US, found common ground in trade. The Japanese leader told Xi that it was important to defend the free trade system, a Japanese government spokesman said.
Xi agreed, saying that both sides should defend multilateralism – the principle of dealing with trade issues in organizations such as the World Trade Organization ̵
The vociferous advocacy of free trade is relatively new for both countries, which have been criticized over the decades for their own trade barriers. Japan's rapid growth after the war in the 1950s-1980s, like the latest one in China, was associated with a heavy dose of government advice and favored industries that had often put foreign companies out of action.
Mr. However, Abe downplayed this story and portrayed Japan in a speech to Parliament on Wednesday as a nation that has been pushing for free worldwide trade since the 1940s.
The generally friendly meeting of the two leaders symbolized a better connection between China and Japan, which have been arguing in recent years about the disputed islands in the East China Sea and other security issues.
"We've got relations back on track," said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who also met with Abe.
China's willingness to roll out the red carpet for Mr. Abe has become partly due to analysts Driven by China's need for friends in the region while fighting President Trump over trade issues, Japan is also looking for better relations because China is the largest export market and tourist source.
Companies and authorities of both nations have signed more than 50 Cooperation Agreements for Projects in Third Countries: This was an important demand from Beijing, which is looking for partners for an international infrastructure-building initiative.
Mr Abe was greeted by a People's Liberation Army band on Friday in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, which played the Japanese national anthem, the permanent rule of the Emperor, under whose name Japan occupied China before and during the Second World War.
There were still some memories of differences. According to both sides, Xi emphasized that sensitive issues such as the history of war and the status of Taiwan, a democratically governed island that views Beijing as a rogue province and maintains close ties with Japan, must be treated appropriately.
At his meeting with Mr. Li, Mr. Abe raised the issue of internal human rights in China, Japanese officials said, adding that Abe alluded to the mass detention of Muslims in China's far west. They rejected Mr. Li's answer.
Abe tries to avert Mr. Trump's threat of garrisoning Japanese cars and car parts by up to 25%. The Japanese authorities said it would force them into mutual talks with the US on trade in September, and repressed Abe's previous policy of forcing trade agreements with many countries.
China, meanwhile, is in dispute with the US over Mr. Trump's plan to raise tariffs on Chinese imports worth $ 200 billion from the current 10% to 25% on Jan. 1.
Japan shares some concerns of Mr. Trump regarding China. Mr. Abe told Xi that China needs to withdraw subsidies to state-owned companies and improve intellectual property protection, the Japanese spokesman said.
Li said Beijing will "firmly protect" intellectual property rights.
It was Mr. Abe's first official visit since taking office for his current term in 2012, despite visiting China for international meetings. The last Japanese Prime Minister to officially visit Beijing was Yoshihiko Noda in 2011.