China and Japan plan to open a military hotline to ease tensions over disputed East China Sea islands, Beijing said Sunday, after their top diplomats held rare talks aimed at warming chilly ties.
While ties between Tokyo and Beijing have shown signs of warming, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe have yet to meet on their own soil.
Kono's visit to China is the first by a serving Japanese foreign minister in nearly two years.
In a statement China's foreign ministry said the two countries had pledged to sign an agreement "as soon as possible" to establish a military hotline to help prevent incidents in the East China Sea.
Frequent maritime patrols by both countries around disputed islets have become a potential flashpoint and a major impediment to improved relations.
"China and Japan should work together to build the East China Sea into the sea of peace, cooperation and friendship," it said.
In remarks before the talks Kono praised the progress towards improving ties, while calling on China to do more to curb North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.
"It is important not only to discuss issues related to our two countries, but for Japan and China to stand side by side to deal with global issues," he said.
"In particular, the North Korea issue is now an urgent issue for the whole of international society."
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