Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi expressed his willingness Friday to meet bilaterally with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the fringes of U.N. General Assembly meetings to be held late this month in New York.

Hayashi told a press conference he is open to meeting Wang, who abruptly canceled planned talks with him in early August in Phnom Penh following a trip to Taiwan by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Japanese Foreign Minsiter Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks to reporters in Phnom Penh on Aug. 4, 2022. (Kyodo)

But Hayashi said, "Nothing has been decided" with regard to a possible meeting with the Chinese foreign minister on the sidelines of the General Assembly, which will hold its annual general debate from Sept. 21 through 27.

"I believe dialogues on various levels are important," he said.

If the meeting is held, the ministers are expected to lay the groundwork for a meeting between Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping, with Tokyo and Beijing marking the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties late this month.

Tensions have been rising over Taiwan since Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled democratic island, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Following the visit, Beijing conducted large-scale, live-fire drills near Taiwan including firing ballistic missiles, some of which fell into Japan's exclusive economic zone.

China has cited criticism leveled at it by the Group of Seven industrialized nations, including Japan, over Beijing's response to Pelosi's Taiwan visit as the reason for canceling the Hayashi-Wang meeting in the Cambodian capital.

The last in-person foreign ministerial talks between the neighbors were held in November 2020.

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