China's foreign minister on Thursday described as "completely appropriate" a decision not to send two top finance officials to global economic talks in Japan, which Beijing is involved in a bitter territorial spat with.
China has not given official reasons for the no-shows at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, but foreign minister Yang Jiechi said "the arrangement of the delegation for the meeting was completely appropriate".
Yang made the brief comment in response to a reporter's question during a joint press appearance with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle after the two held talks on their bilateral relations.
Yang gave no further comment on the issue.
People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan had been due to deliver a lecture on Sunday, the centrepiece of the final day of the annual conference. But the IMF said he will be represented instead by his deputy.
The World Bank said it had been told the Chinese delegation would be led by the vice finance minister rather than Finance Minister Xie Xuren.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde said on Thursday that China would "lose out" by not sending Zhou and Xie.
She called on Beijing and Tokyo -- embroiled in a spat over a chain of islands in the East China Sea -- to settle their row quickly, adding that "countries in this region are very important for the global economy".
"We have a lot of substantive issues to discuss, great debates, great seminars organised. I think they lose out by not attending the meeting," she said.