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Japan, China premiers exchange congratulatory messages

In this May 11, 2018 photo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shake hands in Sapporo, Japan. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on Sunday exchanged congratulatory messages to mark the 40th anniversary of their countries' signing of a peace and friendship treaty, the Japanese prime minister's office said.

A Japanese prime minister and Chinese premier have not exchanged such messages marking the anniversary since Taro Aso and Wen Jiabao did so in 2008.

Highlighting Li's visit to Japan in May, his first since becoming Chinese premier in 2013, Abe said in his message that he is "very pleased to have Japan-China relations return to a normal path."

In his message, Li said the two countries are on track to further relations while expressing a desire to "promote lasting, sound and stable relations."

The premiers also said they are eagerly awaiting a meeting in China by the end of the year, although a date has yet to be set.

In his meeting with Li in Tokyo in May, Abe said he wants to visit China and invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi also exchanged similar messages to mark the occasion.

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