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Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie attends a news conference during the ongoing National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, in Beijing China March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee - RTS11PWN

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YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) - Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie was absent from a trilateral meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts on Friday due to "important policy issues" in his country, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said.

"I heard he could not attend the meeting because he had to deal with important policy issues," Aso told reporters after the trilateral meeting, which was held on the sidelines of Asian Development Bank's annual gathering in Yokohama, eastern Japan.

The Chinese delegation was represented by its deputy finance minister and a senior official from the Chinese central bank at the trilateral summit where finance officials from the three countries met and issued a resolve to resist protectionism, according to a Japanese Ministry of Finance official.

Aso added that he heard that Xiao should be able to join a bilateral Japan-China finance dialogue scheduled for Saturday, in which the two sides are expected to discuss their economic cooperation.

An official at China's finance ministry's international department said "we cannot comment," when asked about Xiao's absence from the meeting.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Kevin Yao; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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Reuters