Japan PM Kishida, China President Xi begin summit talks

The summit meeting between Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Chinese President Xi Jinping has started in San Francisco.

Kishida and Xi began their talks on Thursday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. They are meeting for the first time since November last year.

Kishida plans to stress the importance of promoting a strategic relationship that is mutually beneficial for both countries.

He wants to confirm that all levels of government officials from Japan and China, including the leadership, will maintain close communications to build a constructive and stable bilateral relationship.

Kishida is expected to convey Japan's concern over China's maritime activities in the East China Sea, including areas near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

Japan controls the islands. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. China and Taiwan claim them.

Kishida also plans to call for the release of Japanese nationals detained in China over alleged spying activities.

The prime minister will ask China to promptly resume Japanese seafood imports. China suspended the imports after Japan started releasing treated and diluted water into the ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Water used to cool molten fuel has been mixing with rain and groundwater. The accumulated water is being treated to remove most radioactive substances, but it still contains tritium.

Before releasing the water into the ocean, the plant's operator dilutes it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization's guidance level for drinking water.