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May 24, 2017

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No Beijing-Tokyo meeting at regional summit: China

BEIJING -- China's Premier Wen Jiabao will not meet his Japanese counterpart at the Asia-Europe (ASEM) summit next week, a vice foreign minister said Wednesday, amid a territorial row between the countries.

The remarks follow a string of snubs and angry exchanges over disputed outcrops in the East China Sea known by Beijing as the Diaoyu Islands, although the two sides are reportedly preparing a third round of talks on the issue.

"As for Chinese and Japanese leaders meeting, there is no such arrangement," Ma Zhaoxu said at a briefing, though he noted Wen Jiabao would "take time from his very busy schedule" to meet other delegations.

"What Japan should do now is to seriously reflect on and correct its mistakes and properly resolve the Diaoyu Islands issue, and take concrete measures to remove obstacles blocking China-Japan relations," he said.

The Nov. 5-6 summit in Laos includes all 27 EU member states and 21 Asian nations.

China's finance minister and central bank governor pulled out of International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Tokyo this month at the last minute as a protest.

The dispute over the islands has hit the huge trade relationship between China and Japan, the world's second and third-largest economies.

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