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Japanese PM to visit UN to address territorial issues

(Xinhua)

09:42, September 24, 2012

TOKYO, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will visit New York on Monday afternoon to attend the annual meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, during which he will urge for implementation of the principle of rule of law over territorial disputes, local media reported.

His visit comes as Japan's bilateral ties with two neighbors, China and South Korea, have been souring over competing sovereignty claims for two chains of small islands.

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba will also accompany Noda to the UN and is seeking to arrange talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on the sidelines, possibly on Wednesday, in a bid to begin patching up frayed relations, according to Kyodo report.

Relations between the two countries fell to their lowest point in years since Japan's "purchase" earlier this month of parts of the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, sparking mass anti-Japan protests in many Chinese cities.

The planned emphasis on the rule of law in Noda's speech is partly aimed at keeping China in check over its assertiveness at sea and serving notice to South Korea over its reluctance to join Japan in bringing their territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice.

During his stay in New York, Noda is expected to meet with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

But Noda has no plans to meet with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts before returning to Japan on Thursday, diplomatic sources said.

Noda's appearance at the annual UN gathering of leaders and ministers, set to run Tuesday through Oct. 1, is his second as prime minister, following his debut last September.

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