China morning round-up: China-Japan maritime talks

Flags of China and Japan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, 13 May 2012 Newspapers cast doubt on whether Japan and China can reach agreement on the disputed islands

Diplomacy dominates Wednesday's newspapers, with coverage of the first round of regular consultations on maritime security between China and Japan being most prominent.

Papers including Beijing News suggest that the agenda of talks taking place in the southeastern city of Hangzhou will include the dispute over the East China Sea Senkaku islands, also known as the Diaoyu islands in China. Both Japan and China claim the islands.

China Daily's editorial says the Hangzhou talks are "a positive attempt to deal with their dispute over the Diaoyu Islands".

"For a political solution to be found there has to be a positive atmosphere and a consensus that a constructive relationship is an absolute necessity and in the national interests of both countries," said the editorial.

But other reports and commentaries suggest there may not be such a "positive atmosphere".

Hong Kong's Sing Tao Daily says Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi refused to receive a visiting Japanese economic delegation on Tuesday, a day after bilateral talks between President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

A bilingual editorial in the Global Times further says: "Japan's toughness against China actually reflects its weakness."

"The hardline approach is not driven by real national interests, nor is it supported by international acknowledgement," said the editorial. "The posture cannot even match its national power."

People's Daily also runs a commentary which further criticises Japan's decision to allow the World Uighur Congress (WUC) to meet in Tokyo. Beijing says the WUC is a separatist group.

It says Japan's decision "will just ignite strong indignation among the Chinese people".

Newspapers such as Shanghai Daily and Beijing Times also cover Beijing's protest after the meeting between the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader in exile, and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

In a second bilingual editorial of the day, the Global Times says the UK should pay a "high price" for Mr Cameron's act.

"The meeting was deliberately arranged by Britain. The Cameron government clearly knows it could bring damning risks to Sino-British relations. China must take corresponding punitive actions against Britain," it said.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "British ministers believe that who they see is a matter for them."

People's Daily also marks the beginning of the annual fish moratorium in the South China Sea, amid the stand-off with the Philippines over the disputed Scarborough Shoal, or Huangyan Island as it is known in China.

Beijing Times says China's foreign ministry reiterated its intention to solve the dispute through diplomatic efforts, amid rising pressure from domestic media and netizens for military intervention.

Shanghai Morning Post reports comments by President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines saying that the stand-off will be resolved very soon, while the Global Times says Filipino media all believe that the country can withstand whatever sanctions China imposes.

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