Japan’s PM Abe to visit China for 1st formal visit in 7 years

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to travel to China later this month for his first formal visit in seven years, in a sign of improving relations between the regional rivals. Bilateral ties nose-dived in 2012 after Japan nationalized a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea claimed by Beijing, setting off violent protests in China. Despite close economic ties, many Chinese also resent Japan over its invasion of their country last century. Abe’s October 25-27 visit follows a trip to Japan in May by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the ruling Communist Party’s second-ranking official, AP said. President and party leader Xi Jinping is also expected to visit Japan at a future date.