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Sino-Japanese summit ruled out


08:19, July 30, 2013

Tokyo 'must show sincerity' to improve strained relations

Beijing ruled out the possibility of an upcoming leaders' summit with Tokyo on Monday, urging the Japanese government to take concrete measures to improve strained ties rather than brandishing "empty slogans".

The message from a government official, who declines to be named, comes after Isao Iijima, a close adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said on Sunday that Abe could hold a summit with President Xi Jinping in the "not-too-distant future".

Iijima said his assumption is based on his four-day visit to Beijing in mid-July, during which he met "several prominent figures"close to Xi, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported.

But the official said that Iijima did not meet any Chinese government officials.

"What Iijima told reporters on Sunday is not true and is fabricated, based on the needs of Japan's domestic politics,"he said.

His visit to China was mainly to discuss his tour of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and there was no consultation between the two sides on a leaders' meeting, according to the official.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a brief statement on Monday that Iijima has not conducted official activities during his visit to China, and Chinese officials were not in contact with him.

Iijima's remarks were widely quoted by the international media, with the world watching to see how Asia's two biggest economies are to mend ties that have been hit by the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands.

However, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference on Monday, "No immediate schedule for a leadership summit has been set."

Iijima is not the only politician in Japan playing up the possibility of a leaders' summit.

During his just-concluded visit to Southeast Asia, Abe also repeatedly called for dialogue with Beijing without any conditions attached.

Beijing responded to Abe's move by saying its door is always open for talks, but the problem lies with Japan's unwillingness to face up to reality and start serious consultations with China.

Japan should "stop using empty slogans about so-called dialogue to gloss over disagreements", Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told China Daily on Monday.

Analysts said that as Abe faces huge pressure to break the deadlock with China, what he and his administration want now is to achieve progress in China ties with the minimum price paid.

Given Japan's hard-line stance on the territorial dispute, it is unlikely that the leaders of the two countries will agree on a meeting that cannot make progress on existing problems, experts said.

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