World Bulletin/News Desk
Senior Japanese and Chinese diplomats have met to discuss a dispute over East China Sea islets that both countries claim, the Japanese government said on Wednesday, underscoring willingness to talk despite a sharp deterioration in ties.
Sino-Japanese relations took a dive after the Japanese government bought the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, from a private Japanese owner in September, triggering violent protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products across China.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura confirmed talks between Tokyo and Beijing after domestic media reported that Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai secretly met senior Chinese officials, probably including his counterpart, Zhang Zhijun, in Shanghai last week to discuss the dispute.
"I am aware of the reports. That was part of the communications going on between Japan and China in various forms and at various levels," Fujimura told a regular news conference without giving details.
"It just shows we are in constant contact at many levels."
Following Japan's purchase of the islands, China sent fishery patrol and marine surveillance vessels to waters near the islets, raising concern that confrontation with Japanese patrol ships could escalate into a broader conflict.
The row with China, the world's second-largest economy and Japan's largest trading partner, has prompted the Bank of Japan to cut its outlook for economies in the region.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has described Japan's security environment as tougher than ever.
Rohingya claim to have been beaten, raped and left homeless after houses and mosques allegedly torched in army crackdown
Park Geun-hye offers apology after admitting receiving help from a close aide embroiled in controversy
Investigation ongoing into accident in which one raft on ride was pushed into another at Dreamworld on Gold Coast
Inmate accused of leading ISIL-linked umbrella group believed to have radicalized 21-year-old who stabbed 3 officers
Fire seriously injures 11, believed to have been caused by electrical short-circuit in Johor state
59 people killed, 117 wounded at police training college
Khmer National Liberation Front - which PM calls 'extremist group' - says new 56-member gov't based on Paris Peace Accords
Surrenders bring number of Abu Sayyaf members to hand themselves in since gov't offensive began in July to 34
4 men opened fire on workers in Central Highlands region with shotguns; 15 people also injured
Civilians killed on both sides of border as India, Pakistan renew clashes
In July, the North cut off its only remaining official channel of diplomatic communications with the United States in retaliation for American sanctions against its leader, Kim Jong-Un.
A top Maoist leader and his son were suspected to be among those killed after a shootout with police
The escapees flooded onto nearby roads, according to footage in local media, prompting officials to urge residents to stay indoors and lock their homes.
Previously scheduled meeting takes place after President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of separation from US
Park Geun-hye makes U-turn on constitutional reform, claiming 5 years in office may be too short to make real difference
"At the UN, the leader of a country asked me which of the candidates I preferred. I responded: 'Do I prefer the bad over the worse, or the worse over the bad?" Rouhani said at a speech in Arak in central Iran.