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China, Japan new heads predicted to seek dialogue over Diaoyutais row

ROC Central News Agency

2012/12/24 20:23:30

Taipei, Dec. 24 (CNA) China's new leader and Japan's new prime minister would seek dialogue in an effort to address the territorial dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands, despite tension in the region, Taiwan's security chief predicted Monday.

China's new leader Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe, who is expected to soon become Japan's prime minister, are seen as nationalistic figures who could take tough action on territorial issues, but they would not want to see the situation evolve into a major conflict, said National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai De-sheng.

They, instead, will be more likely to pursue dialogue to deal with issues over the disputed Diaoyutais in the East China Sea, Tsai said during a hearing in the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Tsai also thinks it is possible to see a conflict occur in the region, given that China and Japan have strengthened maritime law enforcement to assert their claims over the island group.

But avoiding 'a disaster' remains their basic policy when handling the territorial dispute, he added.

'Even if there could be some conflicts, they would be manageable,' Tsai told lawmakers.

Addressing the relations between Taiwan and Japan, Tsai said it is unlikely for them to engage in a conflict over the Diaoyutais issue.

Abe understands Taiwan and has been friendly toward Taiwan, he said, explaining that Taipei and Tokyo value cooperation more than competition.

Foreign Minister David Lin also said at the same legislative meeting that although China intends to make regular missions to send surveillance ships and aircraft to the Diaoyutais to assert its territorial claims, China and Japan will likely to continue to exercise mutual restraint for the time being.

Asked about the possibility of China and Japan engaging in a conflict in the region, Lin said there is not sufficient evidence to make a judgment and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to pay attention to subsequent development on the issue.

The Diaoyutais, which lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan, have been under Japan's administrative control since 1972, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China. The island group is known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China.

(By Elaine Hou)

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