Beijing will urge Tokyo on Tuesday to change its stance on the Diaoyu Islands in talks with the highest-level diplomat Japan has sent to China after its illegal "purchase" of part of the islands.
The "purchase" ignited the worst diplomatic crisis between the two countries in years.
Observers said Japan’s sincerity remains to be proven and the talks may make little difference if Tokyo refuses to make concessions in its hardline stance.
Japan’s Vice-Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai, the most senior unelected official in the ministry, arrived in Beijing on Monday.
"At the request of Japan, China has agreed to Japan’s Vice-Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai visiting China on Monday and Tuesday, to hold consultations with Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun on current China-Japan relations, especially the Diaoyu Islands issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing on Monday.
"China will clarify its position on the Diaoyu Islands and urge Japan to correct its mistakes as well as make efforts to improve ties with China," Hong said.
Lu Yaodong, director of the department of Japanese diplomacy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it has been Tokyo’s long-term policy to deny the existence of the territorial dispute. Consequently, the Japanese "may not make substantial changes to their stance" during the talks, Lu said.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported that Yang Yanyi, assistant minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, will pay a four-day visit to Japan in early October to discuss the islands. Beijing has not confirmed the trip.
Two surveillance vessels, the Haijian 66 and Haijian 46, entered waters near the islands on Monday morning.
The State Oceanic Administration said the two vessels were undertaking a "defensive" patrol near the islands.