Are better China-Japan relations on the horizon?

On May 9, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe during a three-day diplomatic visit to Japan.

He became the first Chinese premier to visit Japan since 2011. The visit implies a thaw in the long-standing hostile relations between the two countries, which ensued from territorial disputes over East China Sea islands and grievances from World War II.

In a press conference, China and Japan agreed to set up a hotline to avoid military confrontations in the East China Sea. Also, a public-private council will be set up by both countries to work on projects related to Beijing’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure initiative.

In addition, Li was granted a meeting with Japanese Emperor Akihito, a rare friendly gesture from Japan.

Prior to the visit, Li, Abe, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met briefly for a trilateral meeting to discuss various topics, including the historic April meeting between the two Koreas and the possibility of closer trilateral trade ties to hedge against pressure from the U.S.