The recently concluded APEC finance ministers meeting in Kyoto was skipped by both the Russian & Chinese Finance Ministers and was attended by their vice ministers instead. This also led people to speculate if Chinese president Hu-Jintao will attend the summit scheduled this week.
It may be recalled that diplomatic row erupted between China and Japan in September over the control of Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. The islands are claimed by China but controlled by Japan.
Last month tension had built up between Japan and Russia over the visit to the Kunashiri island in the Kurils by President Dmitry Medvedev. The islands off Hokkaido are controlled by Russia but claimed by Japan. The Japanese ambassador in Moscow was recalled in protest.
In an apparent reconciliation move, Medvedev later thanked the Japanese Prime Minister for the invitation to the APEC summit to be held in Yokohama.
Japan had hoped to use the Finance Ministers meeting as a platform to re-affirm its economic engagement with China. The two Asian countries hold the highest amount of foreign exchange reserves and bilateral trade stood at ¥12.6 trillion in the first six months of the year. Compared to that, bilateral trade between Russia and Japan is much smaller, recording $14 billion for the first six months in 2010.