Foreign Ministers face off over disputed islands


China’s Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi met with his Japanese counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kōichirō Genba in a side meeting at the United Nations yesterday.

The purpose of the meeting was to try and move forward the dispute between the two countries over the disputed islands of Diaoyu (Chinese) or Senkaku (Japanese) in the East China Sea. The clash between the two countries has already damaged trade including the closure of a number of Japanese factories in China after violent demonstrations and the cancellation of multiple flights between the two countries. The damage to trade appears to have been more severe for the Japanese than the Chinese.

Both countries claim sovereignty over the islands with a change of leadership in China and a likely early general election in Japan this year creating a sense of greater nationalism on both sides.

The talks have been reported in a number of media outlets as ‘severe’ and there was no indication that the two sides were any closer to resolving the dispute, or at least calming down the nationalist spirits riding high in both nations.

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