Japan, China leaders shake hands again but no talks on islands

NUSA DUA, Indonesia Mon Oct 7, 2013 12:05pm EDT

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows at the end of a news conference to announce a raise in the sales tax rate at his official residence in Tokyo October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows at the end of a news conference to announce a raise in the sales tax rate at his official residence in Tokyo October 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

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NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping shook hands during an APEC regional summit in Bali on Monday but had no talks on a territorial island dispute, Japanese officials said.

Relations between the world's second- and third-largest economies have been troubled for months because of a sovereignty dispute over tiny islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. The two also remain at odds over their respective conduct during World War Two.

Abe and Jinping also shook hands on the fringes of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg in September, the first such show of cordiality between the two since they took office.

Tomohiko Taniguchi, a councilor for the cabinet secretariat in Abe's office, said the premier was open to talks with Beijing that would sidestep the thorny islands dispute, which has been exacerbated by the purchase of several of the islands late last year by the Japanese government from a private owner.

"There is just one area of issue that it is pretty hard for the Japanese to discuss and that is the islands issue," he said. "If we agree to discuss this issue, it would be tantamount to agreeing on the existence of a sovereignty issue."

Tokyo's purchase of three of the uninhabited islands spurred major Chinese protests and a boycott of Japanese goods in China.

The United States, which has a hefty military presence in Japan including on the southern island of Okinawa, close to the disputed isles, has expressed concern about the dispute and has been keen to see a diplomatic solution.

(Reporting by Randy Fabi, writing by James Pomfret, editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (3)
urall5150 wrote:
This is no surprise. Japan still refuses to accept it’s role in the murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians and military personnel during WW11.

It does this by refusing to even acknowledge it happened.

Why be surprised that the racist Japanese refuse to acknowledge China’s possible claim on the islands when they can bow and talk quietly and dismiss everyone.

This behavior has worked for at least the last 70 years. Why stop now?

The Chinese need to hire an American PR firm.

Oct 07, 2013 4:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
justice_first wrote:
why is Japan so unwilling to admit that there is a dispute ?

It is clear that the two neighbors will continue to contest for the islands. Japan is now emboldened by the US support in its claim that it is unwilling even to admit that there is a dispute. But, the dispute is real, and the world knows it. This will be a geopolitical contest of strength, at the same time, an effort to contain China’s growth.

Oct 12, 2013 10:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
nomoremaos wrote:
These Chinese posters are really funny. Do readers really believe BobSmith and Anthony are not Chinese posters? China is the agressor – they can’t even manage their own country, now they want to steal other countries’ land?! China is run by a bunch of thugs who steal from the chinese citizens and pad their families bank accounts. Who’s talking about WWII? You should be talking about what the Chinese government has done to millions of its own citizens over the last 500 years – let alone the last 50 years. All you have to do is visit Japan and then visit China to see the difference. It’s like comparing a 2014 BMW with a 15 year old Hundai.

Oct 13, 2013 2:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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