News / Asia

China Snubs IMF, World Bank Meetings in Japan

A man is silhouetted against the logo of the World Bank at the main venue for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meeting in Tokyo, October 10, 2012.
A man is silhouetted against the logo of the World Bank at the main venue for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meeting in Tokyo, October 10, 2012.
Political tensions between China and Japan overshadowed the annual gathering of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Tokyo Wednesday. Top officials representing the world's second-largest economy are not attending.

In an unusual break with its own protocol, China is not sending its key senior officials to the most important annual round of global meetings of finance ministers and central bankers.

The World Bank confirms China's finance minister, Xie Xuren, and the governor of the People's Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, will be represented by lower ranking officials.

It was previously announced that the four top Chinese banks would not be at the gathering, which is being attended by relevant officials from 180 countries.

​The downgrading of the Chinese delegation is seen as a snub of host Japan, with which an old territorial dispute has recently escalated.

China cited a tight schedule as the reason its top officials cannot attend. In Beijing Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was asked if the officials’ absence indicates China’s unhappiness over the territorial dispute.

A group of disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen from the city government of Tokyo's survey vessel in the East China Sea, September 2, 2012.A group of disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen from the city government of Tokyo's survey vessel in the East China Sea, September 2, 2012.
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A group of disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen from the city government of Tokyo's survey vessel in the East China Sea, September 2, 2012.
A group of disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen from the city government of Tokyo's survey vessel in the East China Sea, September 2, 2012.
He says Japan’s purchase of the Diaoyu Islands is a serious infringement upon China’s sovereignty.  He says Japan should acknowledge the dispute between the two countries and hold talks on the issue. 

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba calls China's absence “very disappointing.”

Chief government spokesman Osamu Fujimura says it is a pity Chinese officials have declined to attend such an important meeting

Fujimura says since economic exchanges between Japan and China are important the Japanese government will take a broader view and continue to try communicating with China.

There is concern the feud over the group of small islands claimed by China but controlled by Japan could adversely affect their economies and others in the region.

Bank of France governor Christian Noyer calls the absence of his Chinese counterpart and the finance minister a diplomatic issue he should refrain from commenting on.

"I hope that the discussions in the various meetings will be successful in any case," he said.

After Japan's government moved last month to buy the disputed islands - which are called Senkaku in Japanese - from a private Japanese owner, relations with China quickly deteriorated.

Nationwide protests erupted in China. Japanese automakers saw September car sales in China plunge.

Share prices of automakers came under pressure in Wednesday's trading, helping to send the Tokyo market to a two-month low with the benchmark Nikkei index closing two percent lower for the day.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
October 10, 2012 10:38 PM
Concerning the territorial dispute, relevant countries have their own opinions on the basis of their own historical understandings. So, resolution would not be easilly achieved. It's important not to haste to solve the problem, especially for powerful countries with unilateral dominance. Small countries couldn't stand a chance by any power of economy, politics and millitary, if they claim separately. Small countries clashing with pwerful countries need unite and claim and draw some compromise from the opponent.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
October 10, 2012 8:26 PM
It seems dissapointing that Chinese government looks like dealing this disputes as a tool of governing Chinese people leading to nationalism uniting them to blind to autocracy with supression of diverse opinion of pro-democratic Chinese people. I'm sure not a few Chinese people are noticed that this kind of government-leading opinion incitement is risky and not benefitial for developement of Chinese democracy.


by: Yosho from: Sapporo
October 10, 2012 8:02 PM
Now, China is a big country in all aspects of economy and politics and humanity. China has got a strong power to make effects on people around the world to live a life in happiness. I'm sure Chinese people acknowledge this fact. They are going to pay attention to their role not only in national benefits but also in international benefits.


by: Saito from: Japan
October 10, 2012 8:59 AM
China should tread very carefully... Japanese nationalism is growing stronger by the day... we can all feel it... this is not good for China... China should consider a catastrophic Japanese reaction...

In Response

by: zhangchao from: china
October 11, 2012 7:19 AM
Diaoyu Island and the adjacent islets have been China's territory since ancient times and China has incontestable historical and legal evidence on this.Nationwide protests erupted in China.Japan should consider the Disastrous consequences,We will pay any price to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity

In Response

by: Anonymous
October 11, 2012 6:42 AM
Senkaku is CN since ancient time...LOL. If CN had so all evident to prove it why she did not accept the proposal from JP to resolve the dispute by UN when she has nothing to lose.... LOL.... brainwashed CNese.

In Response

by: neon from: USA
October 11, 2012 1:58 AM
So you basically stated what Chinese people have suspected all along: that Japan is not only unrepentant of events of the past but rather wants to repeat them in the future. So much for pacifism. And BTW, Chinese nationalism against Japan is much more dangerous for the Japanese than the other way around. Go ask a Chinese person about the atomic bombings of Japan. They would probably say "they deserved it"

In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
October 10, 2012 8:02 PM
@evenlyn tran, Did you mean those goats are inhabited Japanese on Diaoyu island? LOL, you are such a liar, Diaoyu island is an uninhabited island with only few wild goats. BTW, China discovered and administrated this island long before Japan robbed it from China. Any way, the Cairo declaration after WWII already judged that Japan's territory only includes four main islands and other small islands decided by all Victors. So it is clear Japan as a loser has no right to define its territory which only decided by victors including China!

In Response

by: evelyn Tran from: Canada
October 10, 2012 11:34 AM
Senkaku has been of Japan before WWII. When the Japanese inhabited in Senkaku islands, no one inhabited there yet. China is quite greedy, violent and unreasonable. China is trying to use " vague long term history" to claim sovereignty over many islands in the Asian Seas. The Asian countries should unite with and support Japan against new fascist China. Besides army, China is using economic punishment, dirty methods and big population in order to bully, harass and invade the other countries' territories.

In Response

by: WangMinghui from: China
October 10, 2012 11:12 AM
Diaoyu Island and the adjacent islets have been China's territory since ancient times and China has incontestable historical and legal evidence on this.Nationwide protests erupted in China.Japan should consider the Disastrous consequences,We will pay any price to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity

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