Foreign ministers Koichiro Genba, of Japan, and Yang Jiechi, of China, will meet one-on-one later today in order to discuss the rapidly escalating tensions between the two counties over the disputed Senkaku Islands. As both are in Cambodia at the moment, participating the meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Taking place on the sidelines of the conference, this will be the first meeting between the two minsters since Japanese Prime Minster Yoshihiko Noda stated on the weekend that the central government would be stepping in to purchase the islands from their private Japanese owners.
Earlier on Wednesday, three Chinese patrol ships entered Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands, resulting in a strong outcry from Japan’s central government in Tokyo. Known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, the group of five small islets are located in the East China Sea. While they have been under Japanese control for decades now, China has never given up their claim to the territories.
The Japanese plan to purchase the islands began when Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara announced his intent to make the buy using public funds, but the central government in now trying to take over the deal as it feels the nationalistic, right-wing governor is not the best person to be in charge. This attempt at purchasing the islands has caused its own outcry from those in China, with some going so far as to turn the situation in a defense game for the iPad.