Japan's New Foreign Minister Conveys Concern To China About Senkakus

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Japan's new Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi spoke by phone Thursday with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, conveying concern about repeated intrusions of ships sent by Beijing into Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands, a government official said.

The conversation with Wang, who is also a state councilor, was the first since Hayashi became Japan's top diplomat on Nov. 10. During the call, Hayashi also raised human rights issues in Hong Kong and China's far-western Xinjiang region, according to the official.

Japan and China will mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic ties next year. But their relations remain tense over territorial, security and historical issues.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Hayashi and Wang discussed how to stabilize relations between the two countries.

The Japan-controlled Senkakus in the East China Sea are claimed by China, which frequently sends its coast guard ships near the uninhabited islets as its build-up of maritime power intensifies regional tensions and a rivalry with the United States.

In addition to the long-standing islet issue, Japan has had a strained relationship with China over human rights issues and Taiwan, which Beijing considers its internal affairs.

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