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Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Chinese, Japanese officials meet amid dispute


Rival claims to a group of tiny islands are the focus of talks Tuesday between Chinese and Japanese officials, testing whether the countries can summon the political will to put the rancor behind them.
Japan China Disputed Islands
The disputed islands - called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. Pic: AP.
The Japanese government’s purchase of some of the East China Sea islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China from private owners this month has sparked sometimes violent protests in China and informal boycotts of Japanese products.
The meeting between Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai will focus on relations between the countries.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday that Kawai was visiting at Japan’s request. “China will urge Japan to correct their mistakes and make efforts in improving ties,” he said.
China has dispatched government marine monitoring vessels to patrol around the Japan-administered islands.
Taiwan also claims the islands and has registered a formal protest over Japan’s purchase.
On Tuesday morning, about 50 Taiwanese fishing boats accompanied by 10 Taiwanese surveillance ships came within almost 20 kilometers (about 12 miles) of the disputed islands — within what Japan considers to be its territorial waters, said Yasuhiko Oku, an official with the Japanese coast guard.
Japanese patrol boats warned the boats to leave with electronic signboards and directives in Chinese over loud speakers.
A Taiwanese surveillance ship responded that the waters belonged to Taiwan and that the boats were engaged in legitimate operations and urged the Japanese patrol boats to withdraw, Kyodo News agency reported. Some of the Taiwanese fishing boats displayed banners asserting Taiwan’s claims to the islands.

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