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Japan's ex-envoy to China calls for islets talks to avoid contingency

(Xinhua)

08:34, September 26, 2012

TOKYO, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Former Japanese Ambassador to China Yuji Miyamoto has called on Japan and China to start talks soon to fend off any contingency over a group of islands in the East China Sea.

Miyamoto, who served as ambassador to China between 2006 and 2010 and could be tapped by Prime Minister Noda for a second term following the death of Shinichi Nishimiya earlier this month, told Japan's leading news agency Kyodo News Tuesday that he believed Tokyo's refusal to hold dialogue with Beijing over the disputed isles is "not a realistic response."

Japan considers the Senkaku Islands, which China calls Diaoyu Island and affiliated islets, as its inherent territory over which there exists no sovereignty dispute, Miyamoto said, but "a conflict exists in reality over the Senkakus."

"Unless the two countries accept the existence of a conflict and launch talks, there will be no breakthrough," he said. "If the Japanese government starts dialogue (with China), it may face domestic criticism that it has conceded. A political decision is needed."

And if talks over the territorial row start, Japan "needs to win something" in exchange for sitting down at the negotiating table, the 66-year-old ex-envoy said.

Tokyo could urge Beijing to make a compromise in the planned joint development of gas fields in the East China Sea, he explained.


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