World Bank's Indrawati urges end to China-Japan row

TOKYO Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:21am EDT

World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati smiles during an interview with Reuters at the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Tokyo October 11, 2012. REUTERS/Issei Kato

World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati smiles during an interview with Reuters at the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Tokyo October 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - The global stakes are too high for the territorial row between China and Japan to be allowed to escalate, World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Thursday, calling on their leaders to resolve the dispute.

Relations between China and Japan are at their worst in years over competing claims to sovereignty over islands in the East China Sea. The dispute stoked violent protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products in China last month.

Chinese finance officials, including central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, pulled out of this week's IMF and World Bank meetings in Tokyo, in what analysts said was a deliberate move to embarrass Japan on the international stage.

Indrawati, a former Indonesian finance minister, told Reuters in an interview the row was not likely to dampen the mood of the Tokyo meetings, but came at a time when the world economy was already reeling from uncertainty over the euro zone crisis.

She said Japan's and China's leaders had a responsibility to resolve the dispute so that it did not cause unnecessary economic and social damages.

"The relationship between China and Japan is just too important not only for these two countries," Indrawati told Reuters.

"We all know that China and Japan are the second and third largest economy in the world, so anything that happens between the two countries is not only affecting the two sides, but also affecting the region as well as globally."

"The stake is just too high," she said, adding: "We already have a lot of uncertainty coming from the global (economic) weakening so it is in the mutual benefit of the two countries to settle this dispute in an ... acceptable way."

Japanese car makers have reported tumbling sales in China for September, with Toyota's almost halving, confirming the impact of the territorial row.

She said the IMF-World Bank meetings was an opportunity for global finance leaders to explore policies that could limit the impact of the euro zone crisis on emerging and developing economies, that are now clearly slowing.

"Policymakers have to think about whether they should respond to the short-term turbulence or should they focus more on the medium-term," she said.

Indrawati said the crisis could reverse the reduction of poverty in developing countries over the past 10 years. The World Bank estimated in 2009 that the financial crisis had pushed more than 53 million people into poverty.

"We do understand that this can be easily erased when the economy both in developed and emerging countries suffers from a setback," she added.

Fans of Indrawati in Indonesia last year formed a political party for her in the hope that she may decide to run for president in 2014.

Asked whether she was interested in running for president, Indrawati said: "It is always an honour and for me people asking that kind of question (implies) there is an expectation, or at least recognition, about the role I can play.

"But the work at the Bank is so challenging, especially at this time when many different countries are facing a lot of risk coming from both global challenges as well as their own domestic challenges, this is a very demanding time to focus on that issue."

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by Andrew Roche)

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Comments (3)
Pterosaur wrote:
“The relationship between China and Japan is just too important not only for these two countries,” Indrawati told Reuters.

Indrawati should say this to the US leaders, who are probably smiling to see Japan picking on China in the Encircling strategy.

Oct 11, 2012 9:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Free_Pacific wrote:
I doubt the CCP will listen. Japan has been quietly hopeing they would come to their senses for a while now, but to no avail. Don’t worry Japan, this event is merely drawing you closer to the family of Pacific nations who love peace. All islanders of the Pacific need to work harder to bring a stronger union. The CCP’s arrogance is one of the best catalysts we have had in decades, let us turn it into a strength and quietly paddle as we are already doing, to this end.

Oct 12, 2012 2:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Free_Pacific wrote:

Here in the pacific, we were exposed to all the true horrors that Japan inflicted upon us in the pacific. There is no ‘cover up’, their crimes are well known. But the people of Japan today, have nothing to do with the crimes of their grandparents, no matter how much you would like that to be true to ‘settle your score’. Also, the Sukaku islands have nothing to do with the events of the 1930′s and 1940′s. They have been part of Japan since 1895. And before that, were part of the Ryukyu Kingdom, that are now known as modern day Okinawan’s. The first time they are ever mentioned in ‘historical’ Chinese records, are when a trade emissary from China, wrote of them as they sailed into the Kingdoms waters. Before that, they were unregistered in China.

Of course, accounts from China these days are mostly fabricated and it is the Chinese public who are brainwashed by the CCP, to feed it’s monstrous thirst for energy and resources. True accounts are ignored and ‘revisionist’ accounts are brought to the fore. We are not the fools racists like yourselves think we are. Proven by your constant talk of ‘Naive gullible westerners’. You dismissal of our ability to think for ourselves is well documented. You are a mirror of the criminal CCP and it’s warmongering.

Oct 12, 2012 9:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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