Tight-lipped smiles from Abe and Xi after friendly meeting in Beijing

“China-Japan ties currently face important development opportunities, Chinese President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 said [in Beijing] Monday when meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” reports Xinhua (includes photo of above-mentioned tight-lipped smiles). Xi said China is willing “to push the two countries’ relations to a new level and better benefit the two peoples.”

The story linked above was Xinhua News Agency’s top feature today (also in Chinese). Second billing was given to Xi’s meeting with Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in (English, Chinese), although Xi did call “for joint efforts to lift bilateral ties to a higher level.”

Related: “China has lifted an 18-year-long ban on beef imported from Japan in a fresh sign that Beijing is trying to warm its relationship with Tokyo,” reports the the South China Morning Post. A cynic might point out that China’s meat imports hit a record high in November as the country struggled with the swine fever epizootic.