China, Japan agree crisis mechanism for disputed islands

China and Japan agreed on Friday to establish a crisis mechanism and to talks to prevent a dispute over a group of uninhabited islands from getting out of control, in an apparent breakthrough in ties that have long been soured by the disagreement.

Reuters| Last Updated: Nov 07, 2014, 15:37 PM IST

Beijing/Tokyo: China and Japan agreed on Friday to establish a crisis mechanism and to talks to prevent a dispute over a group of uninhabited islands from getting out of control, in an apparent breakthrough in ties that have long been soured by the disagreement.

The two countries will gradually resume political, diplomatic and security dialogue, China`s foreign ministry said in a statement following a meeting between China`s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe`s national security adviser, Shotaro Yachi.

China and Japan acknowledge that "different positions exist between them" regarding tensions over the East China Sea islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

But Japan must face up to and properly handle sensitive issues such as history and the islands, Yang was quoted as saying in a statement.

The news comes ahead of a visit by Abe to Beijing for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

A one-on-one meeting on its sidelines between Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping would signal a thaw in relations between the world`s second- and third-biggest economies.

Ties have chilled in the past two years over a territorial row, regional rivalry and the bitter legacy of Japan`s wartime occupation of China.

Abe has not had a substantive exchange with Xi since the Japanese leader took office in December 2012, although the two shook hands at a G20 summit in Russia in September 2013.

Japan`s NHK public TV reported on Friday that Tokyo and Beijing had agreed to hold final concrete discussions on the meeting, which it noted would be the first "formal" talks between the two countries` leaders since May 2012, when Abe`s predecessor was in office.

NHK did not elaborate on the meaning of "formal".