TOKYO, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- China is absent at an international conference that kicked off here Tuesday for Asian and Pacific countries to discuss disaster relief operations, said officials of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF).
The conference, organized by the GSDF and called the Multinational Cooperation Program in the Asia-Pacific, has been held annually since 2002. China has taken part in the gathering in 2010 and 2011.
China's non-participation comes at a time when relations between the two neighbors have sunk to their lowest point in years in the wake of Japanese government's "purchase" earlier this month of parts of the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.
The conference, which has attracted 23 countries this year, will run through Sept. 29.
Most viewed commentaries
Internationalization of Diaoyu issue cannot make water muddy
Greater co-op with China will bring more benefits to US
3 questions for Japan: Intention of
'buying Diaoyu Islands'
How should we protect Diaoyu Islands?
Diaoyu Islands issue tests U.S. political wisdom
Why was the U.S. ambassador killed in Libya?