Japan and China must compromise over islands: PM Noda
Japan's PM says possibility of a meeting with Hu Jintao at UN General Assembly next week hinges on finding a way to calm dispute
- Yes: 19%
- No: 81%
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said concessions from both sides were necessary before any meetings with Chinese leaders over the East China Sea islands dispute could take place, as Chinese tourism officials cautioned citizens about making trips to Japan this weekend.
The travel warning coincided with a protest planned in Tokyo today to show support for Noda's purchase of the Diaoyu Islands, which Japan calls the Senkakus. The Chinese National Tourism Administration also cancelled a promotional exhibition in Tokyo yesterday.
Noda said that whether he met President Hu Jintao during the UN General Assembly gathering in New York next week would depend on whether Tokyo and Beijing could find some way to ratchet down their dispute.
The Japanese leader continued to maintain that there was no dispute over the islands, which have been under Japanese control for 40 years.
"There will be no policy change on nationalising [the Senkakus], and it is impossible [for Japan] to give in on this," Noda said on Japanese television late on Thursday, Japanese media reported. "There is no territorial dispute [over the Senkakus]."
He was uncertain whether the leaders of the two countries would be able to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. "If both countries' leaders meet and ended up without any concession from both sides, it would be meaningless," Noda said. "If we meet, we all have to have the determination to end the current row as soon as possible … and show the way out."
He had told Tokyo-based TV Asahi earlier this week that he had miscalculated how Beijing would react to Japan's effort to purchase the islands.
Noda plans to be in New York from Monday to Thursday for the UN meeting and is likely to mention the Senkaku issue in his address to the world governing body, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said yesterday. But Beijing has yet to announce if any top Chinese leader would attend the event.
Japanese media said that a senior diplomatic official sent from Beijing would arrive on Monday to discuss the Diaoyus issue with his Japanese counterparts. But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei disputed the report, saying that many scheduled activities to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the resumption of Sino-Japanese ties have been affected by the tensions between the two countries.
Professor Da Zhigang , a Japan specialist at Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said that while Beijing had conveyed its determination to safeguard the Diaoyus, it would not close the door on a dialogue with Tokyo. "Our final aim is bringing Japan to the negotiation table," he said.
Separately, a protest ship from Taiwan - which also lays claim over the Diaoyus - briefly entered the waters near the islands yesterday.
The Taiwanese fishing boat, Ta Han 711, left Keelung port in north Taiwan late on Thursday for the islands and headed back to Taiwan before noon, the Taiwanese coastguard said. The boat was escorted by a Taiwanese coastguard vessel and was as close as around 24 nautical miles from the Diaoyus' main island, local media reported.
But there was no confrontation with Japanese patrol boats, said Taiwan's coastguard.
Additional Reporting by Agence France-Presse