Japan and China began preparing for a visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during talks in Tokyo that began on Thursday, despite regional rivalry and friction over their wartime history, Reuters reported. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's visit to Tokyo came days after envoys from the two countries helped complete a deal aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Li said during a meeting with the Speaker of the House, Yohei Kono, that China-Japan relations have been at a new level since last autumn, but there is more room for improvement. Sino-Japanese relations plummeted after former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made frequent pilgrimages to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, seen by Beijing as a symbol of Japan's past militarism. Wen's visit, expected in April, would be the first by a top Chinese leader since then-premier Zhu Rongji in October 2000.