International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde called out to Beijing and Tokyo to quickly settle their differences for the sake of the global economy, citing the importance of the two countries in the region. She says that China will “lose out” on great meetings, great debates, and great opportunities by not fully participating in the annual meeting of the financial leaders of different nations, which is currently being held in Tokyo.
While China has not completely backed out from the event, it will only be sending the Vice Minster for Finance and deputy of the Central Bank Governor to represent it. Beijing has not issued an official explanation for the change, but not sending its most senior officials to such an important meeting is seen by many as a snub to the Japanese government. Japan and China are currently embroiled in a territorial dispute over the Senkaku islands or Diaoyu in China, a group of uninhabited islands now believed to be sitting on top of rich mineral deposits. Relations between the two Asian superpowers soured when the Japanese government purchased three of the five islands from a private individual. This has resulted in violent protests in China that caused damages to Japanese properties and monuments in the country. Many worry that the prolonged tension between the two countries may have economic repercussions. Lagarde lightheartedly remarked that China will also be missing out on Japan’s spectacular autumn colors.
When asked to comment on Japan and South Korea, who are also engaged in a different territorial dispute, the IMF chief has called for diplomacy. She hopes that differences could be settled smoothly, pointing out that friendly relations between all financial players and partners are beneficial to Asia-Pacific growth and the world economy.[ via Radio Netherlands Worldwide ]