Report: Japan, China discuss island dispute

Oct. 23, 2012 at 11:30 PM
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SHANGHAI, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Japanese and Chinese diplomats held secret talks in Shanghai on their dispute over a group of East China Sea islands, sources told Kyodo News Wednesday.

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai traveled to Shanghai over the weekend for the talks, the report said.

Kawai held similar talks last month in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun.

Tensions between Japan and China over their competing claims to the islands have worsened since last month when the Japanese government announced the nationalization of the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. There have been violent protests in China against Japan's claims and the Chinese navy has been dispatching its surveillance ships to the region, drawing strong Japanese protests.

Separately, China's Xinhua news agency reported that Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, during his meeting Tuesday with a group of visiting U.S. government officials, "stated China's solemn stance on the Diaoyu Islands issue, stressing the international community should jointly protect the outcomes of the victory of the Second World War and the post-war international order."

Kyodo reported that prior to visiting China, the U.S. delegation, which included former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former national security adviser Stephen Hadley, had visited Tokyo for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

The talks apparently were aimed at encouraging Japan and China to resolve the island issue, Kyodo said.

China's maintains the islands were ceded to Japan by the Qing Dynasty after losing the Sino-Japanese War in 1894 but that the islands were returned to China after World War II.

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