HANGZHOU, China--Japan and China failed to make progress over the disputed Senkaku Islands during the first meeting of a high-level forum for maritime security on May 16.
China said the islands in the East China Sea, which it calls Diaoyu Islands, are an integral part of the country, while Japan reiterated there is no territorial dispute over the islands.
But the two countries agreed that building mutual trust will be most important, sources said after the one-day meeting in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed to set up the new framework in December to prevent disputes in the East China Sea and elsewhere.
The forum became necessary because bilateral relations deteriorated after a Chinese trawler rammed two Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels near the Senkaku Islands in 2010.
A source involved in Japan-China relations said the forum is epoch-making because it “brings together representatives of the front-line divisions of the two countries, which are usually opposed to each other.”
In addition to diplomats, the participants included officials from China’s Ministry of National Defense and State Oceanic Administration and Japan’s Defense Ministry and Coast Guard.
Tensions have risen between Japan and China due to the row over the Senkaku Islands and a conference of the World Uighur Congress being held in Tokyo.
The two countries aim to build trust in stages and establish a mechanism to manage potential crises in the seas.
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