Japan’s ambassador to China returned to Beijing on Monday, after having been recalled to Tokyo over the weekend to discuss the matter of the disputed Senkaku islands.
The two countries have been in a diplomatic deadlock in the past months over the islands located in the East China Sea. The islands, which Beijing calls Diaoyu, are located near rich fishing grounds and may contain important gas and oil reserves.
Japan denied that the summoning of the ambassador, Uichiro Niwa, was a sign of protest to China, only days after three Chinese patrol boats entered disputed waters near the islands, prompting an angry reaction from the Japanese authorities.
“While minor, the diplomatic flare-ups underscore how disagreements over history and territory continue to isolate Japan from the rest of Asia,” The New York Times comments in an analysis of the situation, which also mentions the tensions in the relation with South Korea over the matter of Korean women that were allegedly used as sex slaves during the World War II by Japanese soldiers.