China has ruled out the possibility of top-level diplomatic talks with Japan on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 conference, as Chinese officials claim their long-time rivals aren't serious about coming to an agreement on long-standing border issues.
Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong told reporters in Beijing that a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping wasn't in the cards, despite Japanese statements about the possibility of such a conversation.
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“Under these circumstances, there is no basis for talks,” Li said, according to Bloomberg, referring to Japan's "provocative moves" in the East China Sea. “The Japanese side should stop paying lip service to the issue," he added.
Li claimed that Japan had failed to ‘‘broaden its mindset, face historical facts and take concrete actions to remove obstacles" to an agreement over the islands, according to the Associated Press.
‘‘Under such circumstances how can we arrange the kind of bilateral meeting as wanted by the Japanese side?’’ Li added.
"A bilateral meeting involving leaders is not only about taking photos and shaking hands, it offers an opportunity for leaders to work out a solution to problems," he added, according to Xinhua.
Japan and China have been sparring over the East China Sea islands — known as the Senkakus by Japan and the Diaoyus by China — for years, a controversy that intensified when Japan purchased three of the five islands from a private owner last September.
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