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China refusing to meet with Japan to at G20 over territorial dispute

August 27, 2013

China and Japan have had an on-and-off contentious relationship for many years. Although their time as wartime enemies is seven decades in the past, tensions have arisen again in various instances since then. Most recently, the two Asian nations have come to a disagreement over sovereignty of several islands in the East China Sea. According to China's state-run news agency Xinhua, Li Baodong, the country's Vice Foreign Minister, publicly stated that Chinese officials would not meet with Japanese representatives in the near future to discuss the territory issue. Those with a vested interest in this tense development may be discussing it over conversations conducted using prepaid phone cards.

Past grievances returning
The news source reported that China is levying all blame for this issue and past problems at the feet of the Japanese, even though the two nations must meet at the upcoming G20 conference. Baodong confirmed this in the press briefing.

"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," Baodong said. Claiming that prominent Japanese politicians still refuse to acknowledge past atrocities during the Sino-Japanese War in the 1930s and '40s (such as the Rape of Nanking), he continued by saying, "Under such circumstances how can we arrange the kind of bilateral meeting as wanted by the Japanese side?"

Roots of the current issue
China calls the disputed territory the Diaoyu Islands, while Japan refers to it as the Senkaku. Reuters reported that Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso stated that Japan must be willing to defend the islands with military force if need be. Shinzo Abe, the nation's Prime Minister, has thus far relied on a diplomatic course of action, repeatedly offering opportunities for Japan and China to communicate.

Nevertheless, Aso (Abe's deputy) cites defense preparedness as the only proper solution. "We must clearly convey our intention to protect the Senkaku with the Maritime Self-Defense Forces," Aso said, according to the source.

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