Japan China Disputed Islands

The Diaoyu/Senkaku islands. Pic: AP.

BEIJING (AP) — A high-level Chinese official has called for talks between Beijing and Tokyo to resolve rising tensions over an island chain claimed by both nations.

The official China Daily newspaper reported Thursday that the head of China’s top political advisory body, Jia Qinglin, said the two sides should handle the dispute in the interest of regional stability.

(READ MORE: China, Japan hike military budgets as island dispute deepens)

Jia made the remarks while meeting in Beijing with former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, an advocate of closer ties with China.

Tensions mounted in September after Beijing responded furiously to Tokyo’s purchase of the islands from private owners. The uninhabited islets — controlled by Japan and surrounded by fishing grounds and likely undersea resources — are known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

Japan has long rejected talks over the islands.