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Ties said on mend despite summit lack

Kyodo

Japan will not easily give in to Chinese conditions for holding a summit, but the two nations are moving toward restoring ties damaged by the Senkaku Islands dispute, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday.

“We will not compromise where we cannot, and it is natural we will keep standing firm,” Suga told a news conference.

China has demanded that Japan acknowledge that a territorial dispute exists over the Senkaku Islands as a condition for holding summit talks, according to sources versed in the bilateral relationship.

Suga also said Japan will continue to seek a “strategic, mutually beneficial relationship” with China, and that the countries “are getting closer to each other” while arranging contacts between working-level officials.

Japan maintains no dispute exists over the uninhabited islets. The sources said the administration has rejected the Chinese demand.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wants talks with Chinese leaders but declined to reveal what conditions Beijing has presented.