China sees no reason to hold talks with Japan over their dispute about ownership of a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong (李保東) said yesterday.
Relations between the world’s second and third-largest economies have been strained for months, largely because of the spat over the Diaoyutai Islands, (釣魚台), known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Archipelago (釣魚群島) in China. The islands are also claimed by Taiwan.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to improve ties and has called for high-level dialogue with China, though he has rejected any conditions on talks and China has shown no inclination to even want talks.
Li said Japan’s call for high-level talks was not genuine, but merely grandstanding.
“A meeting between leaders is not simply for the sake of shaking hands and taking pictures, but to resolve problems,” Li told reporters ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) attendance at the G20 summit next week.
“If Japan wants to arrange a meeting to resolve problems, they should stop with the empty talk and doing stuff for show,” Li said, when asked about the possibility of a meeting of Chinese and Japanese leaders on the sidelines of the G20.
Aircraft and ships from both countries have played a cat-and-mouse game near the islands for months, ratcheting up tension.
The Japan Coast Guard yesterday said that three Chinese coast guard vessels had entered what Tokyo considered to be its territorial waters near the disputed islands.
China said the trip was a routine patrol in its own waters.
Moves by some Japanese politicians to deny the country’s wartime past do not help, Li added.
“Under these conditions, how can we organize the kind of leaders’ summit that Japan wants?” Li said.
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