Abe hopes to hold summit talks with Chinese, S. Korean leaders

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he hopes to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun Hye to improve Japan's strained ties with the two Asian neighbors.

"I'd like to hold talks with President Xi and President Park," Abe told reporters accompanying him in Kuwait.

Abe is apparently trying to repair ties with the two countries that have frayed over territorial rows and perceptions of history. The Japanese prime minister has not met for talks with Xi or Park since taking office last December.

His comments came before leaders of the Group of 20 economies, including Japan, China and South Korea, gather in the Russian city of St. Petersburg in early September.

Tokyo and Beijing have been at odds over the sovereignty of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which are claimed by China. The purchase by the Japanese government last September of three of the five main islands in the Senkaku group prompted China to send patrol vessels to waters near the islets.

Tokyo and Seoul, meanwhile, are at odds over perceptions of history and a pair of South Korean-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan that are called Dokdo in Korean. Japan claims the islands, which it calls Takeshima.

Abe is on a six-day trip, visiting three members of the Gulf Cooperation Council -- Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait -- as well as Djibouti.