China, Japan Discussed Disputed Islands in the East China Sea

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin and his Japanese counterpart Hayashi discussed disputed islands in the East China Sea on Thursday during a phone call, with both expressing concerns. The islets claimed by both China and Japan have long been a source of tension between the two countries. Qin said he hoped Japan could prevent “right-wing forces” from provoking disputes over the islands, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Hayashi said bilateral relations face “many challenges and concerns,” adding that Japanese public opinion toward China is “extremely severe,” Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Hayashi also expressed “serious concerns” about the East China Sea, including China’s activities around the islands, as well as its “increasingly active military activities near Japan”.

Still, both ministers agreed to build a constructive and stable relationship and keeping close communication at all levels.

Hayashi told a news conference on Friday that Qin had invited him to visit China, adding that the timing of such a visit needed to be arranged.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno confirmed on Friday that the two ministers had talked and agreed to work toward cooperative, positive ties.

“I think their conversation was a good start,” he told a news conference.

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