Chinese vice president: Dispute over Senkakus hurting both nations

March 23, 2013

By KEIKO YOSHIOKA/ Correspondent

BEIJING--Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao told a Japanese business delegation on March 22 that the Japan-China feud over sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands is detrimental to both nations.

“The worsened bilateral relations are damaging trade, tourism and economic exchanges," Li was quoted as telling the visiting delegation of the Japan-China Economic Association, headed by Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Fujio Cho. "If the current situation continues, both of them fall together.”

It was the first time that a member of the new Chinese leadership of President Xi Jinping met a delegation from Japan. Li apparently expects the Japanese business leaders to exert some pressure on the Japanese government to end the dispute.

Li’s meeting with the Japanese delegation could help pave the way for Japan and China to resume their mutual visits by high-ranking government officials, which have been suspended since autumn 2012.

Japan, China and South Korea are expected to hold a summit in May.

China maintains that the Japanese government’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, located in the East China Sea, caused the deterioration of bilateral relations.

However, Li said: “We should make efforts together by repeatedly holding dialogue and consultations. We believe there is a way to avoid clashes and solve the problem.”

By KEIKO YOSHIOKA/ Correspondent
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Li Yuanchao (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Li Yuanchao (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Li Yuanchao (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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