Japan's Abe says no concessions, but no escalation in islet spat with China

NEW YORK Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:54pm EDT

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a news conference in New York September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a news conference in New York September 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Japan will make no concessions on sovereignty over Pacific islets also claimed by China, but will not make any moves to escalate the situation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday.

Tokyo is locked in a territorial dispute with Beijing over a group of East China Sea islets, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. They have become a theater for cat-and-mouse operations by patrol vessels from both sides.

"The intrusions by Chinese government vessels in our territorial waters are continuing, to our regret. However, Japan will not make a concession on our territorial sovereignty," Abe told a news conference in New York.

"We do not intend to escalate this issue any further. We have been dealing with this issue calmly and resolutely and we shall continue to do so."

Abe, visiting New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, told reporters that he told Chinese President Xi Jinping during a brief meeting at the G20 summit in Russia this month that the two sides should restore dialogue.

"We should not close the doors to dialogue because there is a problem. Rather the existence of issues warrant a good discussion among the high-level officials of both governments," Abe said. "The door to dialogue is always open and I really hope the Chinese side would take the same mindset."

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, did not mention Japan by name, but said he hoped to resolve territorial disputes "through negotiation and consultation with countries directly involved."

"Those disputes that cannot be resolved now can be shelved for future resolution," he said.

In addition to the East China Sea dispute with Japan, China has disputes over islands and waters in the South China Sea with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

The uninhabited islands under dispute between China and Japan are near rich fishing grounds and potentially large oil and gas reserves.

They are administered by Japan, but Chinese paramilitary vessels approach them routinely in what is seen as Beijing's effort to challenge Japan's control.

Taiwan also claims the islands, but Taipei and Tokyo struck a fishing agreement in April covering the waters around the islands that has eased tensions.

(Editing by Christopher Wilson and Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (7)
Zephon wrote:
The article fails to mention the Chinese side regarding the start of negotiations:

That is that the Japanese need to admit that there is a dispute regarding sovereignty of these islands. China has stated time and again that if Japan could just admit that there is a dispute then China would be willing to engage in discussions on the dispute.

Japan has steadfastly stated that they deny that a dispute exists.

Sep 27, 2013 12:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
newlygrad wrote:
Face the reality Abe, you can escalate nothing, either because your constitution pending amendment or military build-up not ready for full scale conflict with your opponent. Obama will pull your hind legs from the mud wrestle. Target the unmanned drones to see what happen, good luck !

Sep 27, 2013 12:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bobsmith20 wrote:
Abe statement is nothing new justing showing he is in extreme right wing direction as he admitted in UN. Whether he agrees or not, China will get back the islands. China is always to open dialogue with Japan on this disputed island. Please do not fall back the glory of imperial Japan army. It is gone and will never come back.

Sep 27, 2013 1:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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