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.
North Korea responds aggressively to 'military provocation,' as major parliamentary gathering gets underway in Pyongyang
55 Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers boycotting assembly since police failed attempt to arrest their deputy leader
7 Indonesians among 13 crew travelling on tugboat when attacked by Filipino gunmen last week
PM Abe’s gov’t discusses how to lessen UK referendum’s fallout on Japanese economy as Tokyo prepares for July 10 polls
Junta leader insists won’t follow example of UK’s Cameron by resigning if Thais reject draft charter in Aug. 7 referendum
- Police believe suspects behind Sunday’s car bombing in Muslim south were involved in blast at mall car park last year
Second finance minister resigns for ‘personal reasons’ as PM announces 3rd cabinet reshuffle since 2013 election
Activist calls for transparency over why officials were transferred in province notorious for refugee rights abuses, graft
SKorean leader addresses concerns on internal division as government highlights importance of firm handling with North Korea
The southern area of Thailand is plagued by insurgency, although the shooting not thought to be related to the insurgency
A Singapore Airlines plane en route to MIlan turned back to Singapore two hours into journey after reported engine problem
It has been one year since the financial scandal has rocked Malaysia with Prime Minister Najib Razak standing taller than despite an an avalanche of investigations, outmanoeuvering opponents, and boosting his control with a pair of recent election wins.
Officials said the strikes began in the last week and were against extremist targets in the southern part of the country.
The poll comes as Australia attempts to rebalance its economy away from a once-in-a-generation mining boom stymied by tumbling commodities prices.
More than 840 others injured after extreme weather conditions battered eastern city of Yangcheng
Driver detained after bus carrying 56 people bursts into flames after crashing into guardrails of highway in central Hunan