Two of China's most senior finance officials will skip International Monetary Fund meetings in Tokyo, the Fund and a report said Wednesday, amid a fearsome diplomatic row over disputed territory.
People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan, who had been due to deliver a lecture on Sunday, the centrepiece of the final day of the annual conference, will now send his deputy.
"We were informed two days ago that Governor Zhou's schedule might require him to cancel his lecture in Tokyo," an IMF spokesman said.
"It has now been confirmed that his deputy Yi Gang will represent him at the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings and will deliver his Per Jacobsson Lecture."
Finance Minister Xie Xuren has also pulled out of the meetings, Kyodo News said, citing an unnamed Chinese official.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency has reported the Chinese delegation to the IMF and World Bank meetings "will be led by Yi Gang, vice governor of the People's Bank of China, and Zhu Guangyao, vice minister of finance."
Its report Tuesday did not mention Zhou or Xie.
The pull-outs come as Tokyo and Beijing remain at loggerheads over the sovereignty of a Japan-administered island chain in the East China Sea that both countries claim.
The dispute, which has rumbled on for decades, flared badly in August and September with landings by nationalists on both sides and the subsequent nationalisation of the islands by Tokyo.
They also come after several private Chinese banks were reported to be limiting or cancelling their participation in events linked to the IMF and World Bank meetings, which began on Tuesday and will run until Sunday.