Fear of armed conflict between the 2 countries that claim ownership

The Associated Press

Posted: Jan 25, 2013 5:51 AM ET

Last Updated: Jan 25, 2013 9:07 AM ET

peacesignA senior envoy handed China’s leader a cordial letter from Japan’s prime minister Friday in the highest-level contact between the sides since tensions spiked in September over an island dispute, though the meeting yielded little beyond commitments to hold further contact.

The letter from Shinzo Abe to Xi Jinping, as seen by The Associated Press, did not contain any substantial overtures, but it sent wishes of good health, spoke of the two countries’ “shared responsibility for peace and prosperity” in the region and said Friday’s meeting was a “valuable opportunity to share views.”

The meeting between Xi and the envoy, senior lawmaker Natsuo Yamaguchi, appeared to dial back some of the intensity of the dispute, which has raised concerns over a possible armed conflict.

Xi told Yamaguchi that China attached “great importance” to his visit, held in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People following four months of rising friction that have included violent protests in China and the scrambling of fighter jets by both countries.

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