G20 talks between China and Japan unlikely: reports

BEIJING - Talks between China and Japan, embroiled in a bitter row over disputed islands, are unlikely on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 summit, Chinese state media reported Wednesday, quoting senior officials.

The two nations are at loggerheads over outcrops in the East China Sea controlled by Tokyo, which calls them the Senkaku islands, and claimed by Beijing, which knows them as the Diaoyus.

Ahead of next month's G20 meeting in St Petersburg, Beijing's vice foreign minister Li Baodong poured cold water on prospects of a meeting between China's President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"If Japan wants to arrange a meeting to resolve these problems, they should stop the empty talk and doing stuff for show," the Global Times, which is close to the ruling Communist party, quoted him as saying.

"Such a high-level bilateral meeting is not only about taking photos and shaking hands, it offers an opportunity for leaders to work out a solution to problems."

Beijing's vessels regularly patrol the waters around the islands, prompting accusations of territorial violations by Tokyo, and political relations between them are dire.

The China Daily quoted Li as saying: "Tokyo has always shown its tough side and remained provocative on this issue."

It is believed the seabed around the islands could harbour vast natural resources and they are seen as a potential flashpoint that some observers fear could lead to armed conflict between the Asian giants.