Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he hopes to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in November in Beijing to improve bilateral relations.
"It is very regrettable that we have not been able to hold a leaders' summit," Abe told a parliamentary committee.
"There are always problems between any neighboring countries, and therefore we should maintain a relationship that keeps the whole under control. This is the basic of a strategically mutually beneficial relationship," the premier said.
"I hope to have a summit meeting during the APEC meeting," said. Abe.
"My door is always open for dialogue. I hope China will take the same stance," he added.
Japan's relations with China have been strained due to a territorial dispute and differences over wartime history. Abe has not held formal bilateral meetings with Chinese leaders since taking office in December 2012.
The two countries are at odds in a dispute over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, a group of uninhabited islets controlled by Japan but claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.
Last December Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine, drawing strong a severe criticism from China. The shrine honors 14 World War II Class-A war criminals along with 2.5 million war dead.
For China, which suffered from Japan's aggression in the early 20th century, the Yasukuni Shrine is a symbol of its militant past and considers visits to the shrine by leading Japanese politicians insensitive and insulting.