Their handshake was awkward, but the meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in itself a positive sign.

Their encounter came three days after Beijing and Tokyo agreed to a formal document in which they recognised their differing positions on a series of disputed islands in the East China Sea.

China and the US also signed a major deal to cut tariffs on information technology products around the world. The deal is to pave the way for the two countries to negotiate more trade agreements.

This will also end a freeze on negoatiations involving more than 50 countries to update the 1996 Information Technology Agreement.

So, what's behind China's efforts to ease political and economic tensions?

Presenter: Jane Dutton

Guests:

Joseph Cheng - Professor of International Politics at City University of Hong Kong.

Roderic Wye - Associate Fellow with the Asia Programme at Chatham House.

Tomohiko Taniguchi - Professor at Keio University and Special Adviser to the Cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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Source: Al Jazeera