Japan's PM Kishida to meet China's Xi on Thursday

TOKYO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, Japan's top government spokesman said, for talks that come as tensions in Asia have risen over Taiwan and North Korea.

"It's necessary to build constructive and stable Japan-China relations through the efforts of both Japan and China," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a regular news conference on Monday.

"We would like to hold a meeting to move forward" with bilateral relations.

Both leaders are in Indonesia for a Group of 20 summit on Tuesday and both will then travel to Thailand for an APEC summit later in the week, where they are due to meet, the Japanese government spokesman said.

Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by a dispute over a group of tiny uninhabited East China Sea islets, a legacy of Japan's World War Two aggression and regional rivalry.

This year, their relations were strained further after China fired ballistic missiles into waters near Japan following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in August.

Japan and its main ally the United States condemned China's actions.

Japan identified China as its chief adversary in its 2019 defence white paper, worried that Beijing's flouting of international norms, pressure on Taiwan and rapid military modernisation posed a serious security threat. That anxiety has intensified since Russia invaded Ukraine, security experts say.

The last in-person between the leaders of the Asian neighbours was in December 2019, when Xi met with then-premier Shinzo Abe in Beijing. Xi was set to visit Japan in 2020 as a state guest, but the trip was postponed because of COVID-19.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of normalisation between the two countries.

(The story has been refiled to fix the spelling of meet in the headline)

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Daniel Leussink; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Robbert Birsel

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