China cancels top finance meeting amid tensions: Japan

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's finance ministry said on Friday that China has cancelled a top annual finance meeting with Japan and South Korea, as diplomatic tensions between Tokyo and Beijing soar.

An official with the ministry told AFP that "China has informed us that the meeting won't be held" on the sidelines of an Asian Development Bank meeting in Delhi next month.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the three countries have been meeting once a year in the lead-up to separate talks with their Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) counterparts.

China, which chairs the trilateral finance meeting, said it was called off "because there were no issues that needed to be discussed and coordinated by the three countries," the Japanese official said.

But Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the Asahi newspaper reported that the cancellation may have been stoked by events earlier this week when nearly 170 Japanese lawmakers visited a controversial war shrine in central Tokyo, seen as a potent symbol of Japan's imperialist past.

The move sparked an angry diplomatic response from Beijing and Seoul, which are also both embroiled in tense territorial disputes with Tokyo.