BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday that Japan should exercise caution on the South China Sea issue, China's state news agency Xinhua reported, as the two met on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Ties between Asia's two largest economies have long been overshadowed by arguments over their painful wartime history and a territorial spat in the East China Sea, among other issues.
Beijing has also accused Tokyo of interfering in the South China Sea, where China and several Southeast Asian nations are embroiled in an argument over ownership.
China has refused to recognise a July ruling by an arbitration court in The Hague invalidating China's vast claims in the South China Sea and did not take part in the proceedings. It has reacted angrily to calls by Western countries and Japan for the decision to be adhered to.
Xi, meeting Abe in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, said Japan should "exercise caution in its words and deeds" on the South China Sea issue, Xinhua said.
China and Japan should also properly handle the East China Sea issue via dialogue and consultation to "jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region", Xi added.
The two countries should "put aside disruptions" and bring their relations back on the normal track as soon as possible, as ties are still "troubled by complications at times", Xi said.
"Both sides should bolster their sense of responsibility and crisis awareness, and work to build on the positive elements of bilateral ties while putting a lid on negative ones, in order to ensure stable improvement of relations," he added.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by John Ruwitch; Editing by Robert Birsel and Alison Williams)