The Diaoyu Islands are a group of uninhabited islands located roughly due east of mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands. They are currently controlled by Japan, which calls them Senkaku Islands. Both China and Taiwan claim sovereignty over the islands.
Noda pursues 'corridor diplomacy' over Diaoyus with China
Japanese leader rules out a formal discussion of the Diaoyu Islands with China at summit, but leaves the door open for a spontaneous exchange
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has denied that any formal meetings with the leaders of China or South Korea have been arranged on the sidelines of this weekend's AsiaPacific Economic Co-operation forum in Vladivostok, Russia.
However, he hinted Japan was still pursuing informal talks with both, through so-called "corridor diplomacy".
At a press conference in Tokyo yesterday, Noda said formal talks were "unlikely at this point" with President Hu Jintao or South Korean leader Lee Myung-Bak. "But if there is an opportunity, for example a conversation in passing, I would like to tell them Japan's position," he said
A "spontaneous" exchange between Premier Wen Jiabao and then Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan occurred at the Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels in 2010. Sino-Japanese ties had soured because of territorial disputes, but the two "bumped into each other" in a corridor that happened to have two chairs.
Xinhua quoted Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba as telling a press conference on the sidelines of the Apec meeting that formal talks were unlikely.
Analysts said China wanted to avoid the embarrassment of Noda telling Hu about the Japanese government's plan to buy three of the disputed Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea - which Japan calls the Senkakus.
Kyodo News has reported that the government has struck a tentative purchase agreement with the islands' owners, a family living in suburban Tokyo.
While in Vladivostok, Noda will meet formally with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the leaders of Russia, Singapore and Australia.
Meanwhile, in a meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang in Vladivostok ahead of the Apec summit, Hu said territorial disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved through bilateral negotiations.
"The two sides should insist on the political resolution of the disputes, persistently pursue the route of putting aside disputes and jointly developing the area, stick to bilateral negotiations and friendly consultation," he said.
Neither side should let the dispute affect co-operation in East Asia and regional stability, Xinhua quoted Hu as saying.
In a separate meeting with Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Hu said China was willing to work with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to implement a code of conduct on handling territorial disputes.