China won’t hold talks with Japan at G20 over disputed islands
Beijing accuses Japan of ‘provocative words and moves’
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe: has indicated he is keen to improve relations and has called for high-level dialogue with China. Photograph: AP
China sees no reason to conduct talks with Japan over their dispute about ownership of a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, “because of Japan’s provocative words and moves,” deputy foreign minister Li Baodong said yesterday.
“A bilateral meeting involving leaders is not only about taking photos and shaking hands, it offers an opportunity for leaders to work out a solution to problems,” he told a briefing ahead of the G20 summit. His remarks were carried by Xinhua news agency.
The dispute over the uninhabited islands escalated last September after Japan’s government bought them from their private Japanese owners. There were violent anti-Japanese protests in China, and Beijing sent patrol ships to the area to assert its claim over the territory.
China was furious earlier this month when Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering to a Yasukuni shrine, which honours Japan’s war dead but also war criminals, while cabinet members made personal visits.
But Mr Abe has indicated he is keen to improve relations and has called for high-level dialogue with China, although he has rejected any conditions on talks and China has shown no inclination to want talks.