BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday ruled out a meeting between the Chinese and Japanese leaders at next month’s Group of 20 summit in Russia, citing a festering territorial dispute and provocations by Tokyo.
Japan’s failure to “broaden its mindset, face historical facts and take concrete actions to remove obstacles” make a meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe impossible, Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.
“Under such circumstances how can we arrange the kind of bilateral meeting as wanted by the Japanese side?” Li said.
Tokyo has repeatedly called for dialogue to resolve the dispute, but has made no solid proposal for a Xi-Abe meeting on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg summit.
The dispute over the uninhabited East China Sea islands escalated sharply last September after Japan’s government bought them from their private Japanese owners.
Violent anti-Japanese protests broke out in China, and Beijing sent patrol ships to the area to assert its claim that they are Chinese territory.
Li was quoted as saying that there is currently no possibility of resolving the dispute and repeating China’s accusation that Japan is entirely to blame for the impasse.
The tiny islands located north of Taiwan are called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. They are also claimed by Taiwan.