China will "lose out" by not sending its top two finance officials to important global economic meetings in Japan this week, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Thursday.
Lagarde called on Beijing and Tokyo -- embroiled in a heated dispute over an East China Sea island chain -- to settle their row quickly, adding that "countries in this region are very important for the global economy".
"We have a lot of substantive issues to discuss, great debates, great seminars organized. I think they lose out by not attending the meeting," she said of China's finance minister and central bank chief who are both absent.
People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan had been due to deliver a lecture on Sunday, the centrepiece of the final day of the annual conference. He sends his deputy, instead, the IMF said.
The World Bank said it had been told the Chinese delegation would be led by the vice finance minister rather than Finance Minister Xie Xuren.
Several private Chinese banks were also reported to be limiting or cancelling their participation in events linked to the meetings, which began on Tuesday and will run until Sunday.
On Thursday, Lagarde said friendly relations were "beneficial" for Asia-Pacific growth and the global economy.
"All economic players and partners in this region are very critical for the global economy," she said.