Abe vows to bolster ties with China day before Beijing trip



<pPrime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to bolster cooperation and friendship between JapanChina in a key policy speech Wednesday before making the first official trip to Beijing by a Japanese leader in seven years.

<pAbe said Japan and China are both responsible for the region's peace and prosperity, which he hoped to achieve by boosting exchanges between them. Abe will hold talks with Chinese leaders Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang during his three-day visit.

<p"Tomorrow I will visit China," Abe said. "As we unflaggingly exchange summit diplomacy, I will also deepen the exchanges between the two peoples in all levels of activities from business cooperation to sports."

<pAbe's visit comes as the two countries mark the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Japan-China Peace and Friendship, and follows Li's visit to Japan in May.

<pAbe hopes to make progress on maritime security and the contentious development of undersea gas deposits in the East China Sea. They are also expected to discuss North Korea<pHe also touched on his foremost ambition of revising the U.S.-drafted pacifist constitution drafted by the U.S. after Japan's World War II defeat, though the hurdles to doing so remain high.

<pAbe also pledged to accept more foreign workers to tackle a severe labor shortage. His government is preparing new legislation that would open up more jobs for foreigners in nursing, construction, tourism, housekeeping and other areas. It's a major shift for a country that has long resisted having more non-Japanese residents.


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