Kono Tells China of Japan's Strong Concern over Senkakus

Politics

Beijing, Dec. 18 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, on Wednesday that Tokyo is "strongly concerned" about frequent activities by Chinese government ships and military aircraft around the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

"It's important to solve problems one by one," Kono said at a meeting in Beijing with the Chinese minister of national defense, who doubles as state councillor. "I hope to see a positive response from the Chinese side," he added.

Kono also urged China to deal with issues related to the islands and other matters ahead of an expected visit to Japan by Chinese President Xi Jinping as state guest next spring. "We need to create a favorable environment, and I want China to make considerable efforts," Kono said.

The planned Japan visit by the Chinese leader has been opposed by some members of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The islands are claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.

Kono is the first Japanese defense chief to visit China since the March 2009 trip by then Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press