China‘s deputy foreign minister Li Baodong says they see no reason to hold talks with Japan anytime soon, regarding their territorial dispute over the Senkakus, known as the Diaoyu Islands to the Chinese. He says that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s overtures for high-level talks are “not genuine”.
He told reporters that a meeting between leaders of two countries is more than just “shaking hands and taking pictures”. He said if Japan is really serious about resolving the territorial issue, “they should stop with the empty talk and doing stuff for show.” He is referring to statements by Abe saying that Japan is eager to better the relations between the two countries, but rejects any conditions being set by China to formally open these talks. Beijing has never responded positively to such hints at opening a dialogue between the world’s second and third largest economies.
Earlier this month saw the diplomatic relationship become even more tense as China criticized Abe’s decision to send an offering to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. Even though the prime minister did not personally go there, China and other neighbours who suffered from Japan’s Imperial Army during wartime still saw the move as something offensive, because the shrine also houses war criminals. Li said that under circumstances like this, they cannot organize the kind of leaders’ summit that Japan is looking for.
Despite past Japanese leaders’ apologies for their militaristic past, many are skeptical of these statements, especially when right-wing politicians make contradictory statements, with some even denying that Japan did anything wrong during those times. Li emphasized that the leaders need to show “vision and courage” to make the proper steps to “get rid of the obstacles” that are in the way of fixing the bilateral relationship with China.
[ via Reuters ]