Japan seeks meeting with China

Japanese officials hopeful meeting with China will go ahead on the sidelines of the Asia Africa summit which begins Friday in Indonesia.

Japanese officials say they remain hopeful that talks between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao will go ahead on the sidelines of the Asia-Africa summit, which begins Friday in Indonesia.

Japan's Foreign Minister, Nobutaka Machimura, says he thinks the meeting will go ahead. He says the main aim of the meeting is for the two leaders to confirm the importance of friendship between Japan and China.

Beijing has not said whether it will agree to a meeting to discuss relations with Tokyo, which are at their lowest point in decades.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in China in recent weeks to protest against Tokyo's approval of a nationalist textbook and to oppose Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Japan has also angered China by allowing domestic firms to explore for gas and oil in waters disputed with China in the East China Sea.

China has refused Tokyo's demands for an apology for the demonstrations.

The Japan-China crisis is not formally on the agenda at the Jakarta summit. However, several Asian foreign ministers have expressed hope that the two sides will take the opportunity to settle their differences.

Meanwhile, China has responded to three weekends of anti-Japan protests throughout the country by warning that any unapproved demonstrations will be considered illegal.

China's Public Security Ministry has issued a statement saying any demonstration must be approved by public security departments.

with files from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation