Japan, China finalizing plans for summit talks

JAPAN - The Japanese and Chinese governments are making final arrangements for talks between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping, to be held on the sidelines of the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Beijing, government sources said.

The Japan-China summit talks, if realised at the APEC meeting on Monday and Tuesday, will be the first of their kind to take place in about three years, except for a brief conversation at the venue of an international conference. The envisaged meeting will be the first since the inauguration of Abe's second Cabinet in December 2012.

Japanese and Chinese officials related to the matter are discussing necessary arrangements through an unofficial channel, including what format should be adopted for a meeting between the two leaders, according to the sources.

Whether Abe and Xi will hold talks now is the subject of international attention. Given this, China is believed to have concluded that as the host of the APEC meeting, it should consider arranging for a bilateral summit to take place.

Beijing continues to demand concessions from Tokyo in connection with the row over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, and possible future visits to Yasukuni Shrine by the prime minister. The Japanese government will never compromise over Chinese demands, the sources said.

If the summit meeting is realised, Japan plans to propose an early launch of a maritime liaison mechanism between the two countries' defence authorities. The mechanism will include a hotline between the authorities and direct contacts between the two countries' vessels and aircraft, with the aim of preventing accidental clashes.