26 Jan 2013

High-level talks needed over territorial dispute

6:34 am on 26 January 2013

China's leader Xi Jinping says there's a need for high-level dialogue with Japan to resolve a dispute over ownership of islands in the East China Sea.

After meeting an envoy from prime minister Shinzo Abe at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Mr Xi urged Japan to work hard with China on the issue.

The envoy, Natsuo Yamaguchi, gave Mr Xi a letter from Mr Abe, the contents of which have not been disclosed.

Mr Yamaguchi said the two agreed it's important to maintain a dialogue.

The BBC reports Mr Yamaguchi is the most senior Japanese politician to visit China since ties worsened last year.

Both countries claim sovereignty over a chain of islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

The islands, which are controlled by Japan, lie south of Okinawa and north of Taiwan.