Japan envoy aims to fix China ties

Japan’s deputy foreign minister has begun a two-day visit to China in an attempt to repair relations that have frayed over a territorial dispute.

Japan envoy Akitaka Saiki aims to fix China ties

Japan’s deputy foreign minister has begun a two-day visit to China in an attempt to repair relations that have frayed over a territorial dispute.

Akitaka Saiki will meet a range of Chinese diplomats to try to pave the way for a higher-level meeting.

Japan has been trying to arrange talks between leaders of the two countries in recent weeks, without success.

On Friday, Beijing told Japan to “stop using empty slogans about so-called dialogue to gloss over disagreements”.

Both countries claim a group of islands in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

While China says it has a historical claim to the islands, Japan has controlled them for decades.

The islands are close to strategic shipping lanes and some experts believe they sit above oil deposits.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the minister’s visit was intended “to promote unconditional, frank dialogue between the foreign ministers and leaders”.

“I have instructed foreign officials to go that way. Japan always keeps windows for dialogue open.”

The islands lie north-east of Taiwan, east of the Chinese mainland and south-west of Japan’s southern-most prefecture, Okinawa.

On Friday, Japan announced proposals to expand its naval and marine forces, while China sent four of its coast guard ships into Japanese territorial waters around the disputed islands.

Chinese ships have been sailing in and out of what Japan says are its territorial waters since late last year, as tensions increased.

Source: BBC.

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