BEIJING, July 15 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday once again urged Japan to work to improve bilateral relations and pave the way for a meeting between their leaders.
"China has made clear its stance on leaders' meetings several times," said spokesman Hong Lei in a press release. "The Japanese side should take concrete measures to remove political obstacles that impair bilateral ties."
Hong's remarks came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday at a session of the House of Representatives Budget Committee that he hopes to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an APEC summit scheduled for November in Beijing to improve ties.
Hong added that the obstacles in China-Japan relations are clear.
Abe's visit last year to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors WWII war criminals, had a serious impact on the strained ties. The visit was the first by a serving Japanese prime minister since 2006.
Last Friday, a spokesmen for China's Foreign Ministry urged Japan to change its stance on history and territorial issues as a prerequisite to mend bilateral ties.
"If Japan fails to correct its attitude, China-Japan relations cannot be mended," Qin Gang said in response to comments by Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga that it is natural for leaders of the two countries to meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit.
Qin stressed the current obstacles in bilateral relations were erected by Japan.
China and Japan have had little high-level political contact since the Japanese government's "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands in September 2012.