China PM Wen to visit Japan in May

BEIJING - China said Monday Premier Wen Jiabao would visit Japan in May to attend a summit with Japanese and South Korean leaders, amid regional tensions over territorial issues and North Korea.

Beijing and Tokyo are locked in a sovereignty dispute over islands in the East China Sea and China is seeking to get Japan and South Korea to commit to the resumption of talks on North Korea's nuclear programmes.

"We need further consultations on how and when the talks will be resumed," Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who announced Wen's visit, told reporters at a press briefing during the nation's annual parliamentary session.

But "we cannot expect the issue to be resolved overnight... we need to make more efforts."

A tense diplomatic row broke out in September last year after Japan arrested a Chinese trawler captain in a disputed maritime area, bringing ties between the Asian rivals to their lowest point in years.

The arrest sparked serious protests from China, which cut or dramatically reduced political, cultural and economic exchanges with Japan. The two have since worked to get their relationship back on an even keel.

China has also been seeking to revive nuclear disarmament talks on North Korea that also include the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia.

North Korea North abandoned the talks in April 2009 and conducted its second nuclear test a month later.