China, Japan hold finance talks that were delayed amid tensions, agree to next round

Chinese and Japanese finance ministers on Saturday held talks to deepen economic cooperation that had been delayed for about two years over strained relations between the Asian giants.

Finance Minister Lou Jiwei and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso agreed to deepen financial cooperation and support collaboration in the economic, trade and investment fields, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Lou and Aso also agreed to hold the sixth and next round of the China-Japan Finance Dialogue in Tokyo next year.

Both ministers agreed the talks help to "further advance China-Japan strategic and mutually beneficial relationship in the economic and financial fields," according to a statement cited by Xinhua.

Saturday's talks were the fifth round of dialogue between the finance ministers from the world's second- and third-largest economies. The last round was held in April 2012, before relations became tense over disputing claims to islands in the East China Sea and a visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013 to a shrine that honors Japan's World War II victims, including war criminals.

Contacts between the two countries are slowly improving, and Abe and Xi have met twice since late last year.

Xinhua didn't mention whether the pair had discussed Beijing's proposal for a Chinese-led Asian regional bank. The U.S. and Japan have not sought membership in it.