10/10/2012 10:16 EDT | Updated 12/10/2012 05:12 EST

IMF chief urges action on euro zone crisis, says 2 Chinese skipping meeting will 'lose out'

TOKYO - The head of the International Monetary Fund has called for urgent action to tackle the European debt crisis and spur sluggish global economic growth as the IMF and World Bank's annual meetings get under way in Tokyo.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Thursday praised recent steps by the European Central Bank and European governments but said "more needs to happen and faster."

Lagarde also said two senior Chinese finance officials who cancelled their trip to the annual meetings amid a territorial dispute with host Japan will "lose out" by not attending.

She stressed that economies in Asia are critical to global growth, and hoped that differences between countries in the region can be resolved so that economic co-operation can thrive and benefit not just the region but the world.