China finance minister skips summit with Japan, Korea to attend emergency meeting

Fri May 5, 2017 6:57am EDT
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By Leika Kihara and Stanley White

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) - Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie skipped a trilateral conference with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts on Friday to attend an emergency domestic meeting, a senior Japanese finance ministry official said.

The Japanese official told reporters at a ministry press briefing that Xiao's absence was not related to any diplomatic matters, adding that Xiao was expected to attend the Japan-China finance dialogue in Japan scheduled for Saturday. He did not elaborate on the nature of the minister's emergency meeting.

The Chinese-minister's non-attendance came as commodity prices took a beating, and Chinese stocks fell to three-month lows as concerns about tighter financial regulations weighed on banking shares.

At the trilateral meeting, the finance leaders agreed to resist all forms of protectionism, taking a stronger stand than G20 major economies against the protectionist policies advocated by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The senior Japanese finance official said he did not see any diplomatic implications from Xiao's absence, saying the minister was likely to arrive in Yokohama Friday evening.

"I don't think this is rude," the official said, when asked about Xiao's absence.

"I heard an emergency meeting was called and the Chinese finance minister had to attend," he said. "We can understand the situation. We don't see any deeper diplomatic meaning to this."

Xiao will join a bilateral Japan-China finance dialogue scheduled for Saturday, in which the two sides are expected to discuss their economic cooperation, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said earlier on Friday.   Continued...

Finance ministers and central bank governors pose during a photo session at ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting on the sideline of Asian Development Bank (ADB)'s annual meeting in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan May 5, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato