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Japan hails "toilet diplomacy" with China

"I just met Li in the toilet and we had a good discussion," Taro Aso said to the other ministers when he returned, a Japanese foreign diplomat told AFP, adding that their contingent was referring to the incident as "toilet diplomacy".
by Staff Writers
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Jul 27, 2006
Diplomats hailed the "toilet diplomacy" of an impromptu chat in the washroom between the foreign ministers of feuding neighbours China and Japan at security talks here.

The two regional powers, whose relations are strained by historical enmities and territorial disputes, have held only a handful of high-level meetings in recent times.

So when China's Li Zhaoxing popped into the toilet during Wednesday's talks in the Malaysian capital, and found that Japan's Taro Aso happened to be inside, the two seized the chance for a discussion.

Journalists who had been pursuing Li through the hallways were mystified by the long visit to the facilities as they waited at the door for 20 minutes, unaware that Aso was also inside.

When Aso returned to the meeting of ministers from the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus China, Japan and South Korea, he informed his counterparts of the encounter.

"I just met Li in the toilet and we had a good discussion," Aso said to the other ministers when he returned, a Japanese foreign diplomat told AFP, adding that their contingent was referring to the incident as "toilet diplomacy".

The two ministers on Thursday finally held their much-awaited official "bilateral" meeting which took place in the more dignified surroundings of five-star Nikko Hotel.

Related Links

China blasts Security Council silence over UN deaths in Lebanon
United Nations (AFP) Jul 27, 2006
China on Thursday blasted the UN Security Council's failure to agree a statement condemning the killing of four UN peacekeepers in Lebanon, amid signs of a backlash on other key negotiations.







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