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Japan-China summit unlikely on sidelines of APEC: report

TOKYO -- Japan and China are unlikely to hold summit talks on the sidelines of an upcoming Asia-Pacific meeting because of a row over disputed islands, a report said Thursday.

The report comes after the Japanese government apparently reached a deal with private landowners to buy part of a chain of islands in the East China Sea that it calls Senkaku, but which Beijing claims under the name Diaoyu.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will probably not meet Chinese President Hu Jintao over the weekend in Russia, Kyodo News agency reported, citing unnamed government sources.

The two will be among leaders gathering in Vladivostok for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on Saturday and Sunday.

Instead of a formal bilateral meeting, Noda will “possibly exchange words with Hu for a short time,” Kyodo said.

The agency said any summit could exacerbate differences over the islands.

Noda also plans to skip a one-on-one meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak because Tokyo and Seoul are at odds over a different set of disputed islands, known as Takeshima to Japanese and Dokdo to Koreans, Kyodo said.

A Japanese foreign ministry official said Noda's schedule in Vladivostok was still being finalized.

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