China has ruled out a top-level meeting with Japan to discuss a territorial dispute in the East China Sea.
Japan has indicated it would like more dialogue with China on the issue, which has severely strained ties.
Both sides claim ownership of a chain of islands in the East China Sea. They are called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Three Chinese coast guard vessels sailed into waters around the islands on Tuesday.
"A meeting between leaders is not simply for the sake of shaking hands and taking pictures, but to resolve problems," said Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong.
"If Japan wants to arrange a meeting to resolve problems, they should stop with the empty talk and doing stuff for show."
The BBC reports it was another sign of serious strains between the two nations.