TOKYO (Reuters) -Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Friday that Japan remains open to dialogue with China as keeping communications intact is all the more important when ties are strained.
Hayashi's comment to reporters came after China on Thursday canceled a meeting between Hayashi and his Chinese counterpart, set to take place on the sidelines of ASEAN events in Cambodia, due to its displeasure with a G7 statement urging Beijing to resolve the tension over Taiwan peacefully.
China launched its largest ever military drills in the seas and skies around Taiwan on Thursday, a day after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi enraged Beijing by making a solidarity trip to the island.
"In times like this, when the situation is tense, communicating well is important. Japan is always open to dialogue with China," Hayashi said.
Hayashi also said his Chinese and Russian counterparts, Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov, were absent when he was giving remarks at one of the ASEAN-related meetings on Friday, confirming accounts by a person in the room.
"I believe Foreign Minister Wang stepped out for a certain period of time including when I was making remarks," Hayashi said, adding that Lavrov did the same.
As a member of the G7 advanced economies, Japan has imposed a wide range of sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; editing by Philippa Fletcher and Hugh Lawson)