Japan, China agree to boost relations ahead of Xi visit

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, shake hands at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Friday, May

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, shake hands at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Friday, May

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, speak at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Friday, May 17, 2

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, speak at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Friday, May 17, 2

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, left, and Japanese officials shake hands prior to a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's offi

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, left, and Japanese officials shake hands prior to a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's offi

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi greet media as he walks to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Friday, Ma

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi greet media as he walks to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Friday, Ma

TOKYO (AP) — Japan and China have agreed to boost their relations ahead of a planned visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan in June, his first since coming to power in 2013.

China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday that the timing is appropriate for the two sides to deepen ties.

Abe said Xi's visit would be a catalyst for further developing relations.

Yang is meeting top officials in Japan to discuss details of Xi's visit, when he will attend a Group of 20 summit.

The two Asian powers have disputes over the ownership of tiny islands and undersea deposits in the East China Sea, as well as over wartime history, but their relations have improved recently amid the U.S. trade war with China.