For his part, Abe said: "Japan and China play an irreplaceable role in the economic development of Asia and even the world" and both sides should work together to "promote world peace and prosperity", according to CCTV.
RCEP is a free-trade agreement proposed by China with South-East Asia and various countries on the Pacific Rim, including Japan.
The Trump administration's unconventional foreign policy toward trade and military alliances has left Tokyo feeling unsure of the U.S. support which has underlined its worldwide relations since the end of World War II. "Now that relations between the two countries have returned to a normal track, we would like to achieve win-win outcomes by stably developing our ties in the long term", Li said, emphasizing that there would be a particular focus on economic and trade cooperation.
Companies and official bodies of the two nations signed more than 50 agreements to cooperate on projects in third countries.
Japan this year terminated four decades of government assistance to China, considered by some as a type of reparations for the damage caused during its invasion and occupation.
"Just looking how the flags of both countries are hung next to each other on Changan Avenue makes me uncomfortable", said a user on China's Weibo microblog platform.
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He said: "If I'm him, I'm hoping he takes me off before the 90 minutes is up". He's a talent - with my England hat on I need to see him playing'.
Four years later, Abe is about to receive a far warmer reaction when he arrives in Beijing Thursday for his first official visit to China in years.
Beijing and Tokyo have historically had very different relationships with Washington - one borderline adversarial, the other a close alliance - but both countries now face similar complaints from the Trump administration.
Japan shares USA concerns about Chinese trade practices, but favors dialogue with Beijing over President Donald Trump's tariff strategy.
It was unclear, what specific rights issues Abe raised.
Abe is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping later Friday, possibly cementing the steady recovery in relations that hit a low in 2012 amid a dispute over East China Sea islands.
"On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the treaty, we need to adhere to the general direction of peace, friendship and cooperation and conform to the trend of the times so as to jointly build more mature, steady and progressive China-Japan ties", Li said.
China is unlikely to change its position on territorial claims, but during Friday's meetings, Li expressed Beijing's willingness to work together with Tokyo to address regional security issues and support efforts toward dialogue and improving relations with North Korea.
"In recent years, we have made some progress in defense exchanges between China and Japan", Wu said at a Thursday briefing, referring to junior officer exchanges and a visit to Japan by a delegation from China's National Defense University.