Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Beijing Sunday afternoon, for his first foreign trip as leader and his first summit talks with Chinese leaders.
Shortly afterwards, Abe is scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao, respectively, before flying to Seoul early Monday for talks with President Roh Moo-hyun of the Republic of Korea (ROK).
The nuclear test of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will also be an "important agenda" of the meeting between Abe and the Chinese leaders, according to the Japanese embassy in Beijing.
Abe is supposed to discuss the Korean peninsula nuclear issue with Chinese top leaders, in order to push forward the stranded six-party talks for an early resumption, sources said.
Xu Dunxin, who was Chinese ambassador to Japan between 1993 and1998, was "prudently optimistic" about the prospects of China-Japan relations, saying "Abe's visit cannot resolve all the problems in bilateral ties as they are complicated and protracted."
But Abe's visit will open a channel for top leaders of the two countries to communicate and exchange views, and lay groundwork for further discussions, Xu said.
"The visit itself is a positive result," he added.
Premier Wen invited Abe to visit China on the premise that "China and Japan reached a consensus on overcoming the political obstacle affecting bilateral relationship and promoting friendly and cooperative relationship," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao.
Abe, who took office September 26, is the first Japanese postwar prime minister who chose China as the destination of his first official overseas trip. He is also the first Japanese leader visiting China in five years as top-level visits had been halted because of his predecessor Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, where 14 class-A war criminals in WWII are honored along with Japan's war dead.
While speaking of his visit to China and the ROK, Abe told a session of the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Thursday that frank exchanges of views, goals and ideals are the first step in building the "relations of trust" among the Asian neighbors.