Japan, China renew vow to promote ties on peace pact’s 45th anniv.

Japan and China renewed their pledges to further promote ties upon the 45th anniversary of a bilateral peace and friendship treaty’s coming into force on Monday, as Tokyo continues to seek high-level dialogue with Beijing amid strains in the relationship.

“It is important to work together to build a constructive and stable Japan-China relationship from a big-picture perspective,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a message read out at a ceremony in Tokyo.

While admitting the Asian neighbors are facing “various issues of concern,” they both share “a great responsibility for the peace and prosperity of the region and the international community,” Kishida added.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang said in his message for the event that Beijing will aim for Sino-Japanese relations that will “meet the needs of a new era” by “returning to the spirit” of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty signed in 1978.

The ceremony was hosted by a group promoting exchanges between the two Asian powers, including the Japan Business Federation, the country’s most powerful business lobby better known as Keidanren. China also held an event in Beijing the same day.

Japan and China have acknowledged the need to stabilize ties, but tensions remain over Beijing’s military and economic assertiveness in the region. The relationship has further soured in recent months over a dispute about the release of treated radioactive wastewater from Japan’s disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

After establishing diplomatic ties in a joint communique in 1972, Japan and China affirmed in the 1978 pact that they would “settle all disputes by peaceful means” and “refrain from the use or threat of force.”

At the Monday event, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said the two countries should continue their “wide and multilayered dialogue including at levels from leaders to the general public,” and collaborate on solving global issues such as climate change and countermeasures against infectious diseases.

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao vowed that Beijing will make efforts together with Tokyo to deepen bilateral exchanges and cooperation.

Toshihiro Nikai, a ruling Liberal Democratic Party heavyweight known for his pro-China stance, and Masakazu Tokura, Keidanren chairman, also delivered speeches.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning hailed the exchange between Li and Kishida, telling a press conference in Beijing on Monday it sent “an important positive message of upholding peace, friendship and cooperation between China and Japan.”

During a ceremony in Tokyo in September last year for the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries, celebratory messages from Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping were read out.

Kishida is expected to explore the possibility of a bilateral summit with Xi in mid-November in San Francisco on the sidelines of an annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, summit.