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Japanese diplomat in letter mission (2)

By ZHANG YUNBI and WANG CHENYAN  (China Daily)

08:51, August 29, 2012

Noda also sent a letter last week to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to protest against Lee’s visit, earlier this month, to islands which Seoul calls Dokdo and Tokyo calls Takeshima.

Seoul returned the letter, unopened.

In early July, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Kunashiri Island, one of the Russian-held islands also claimed by Japan, and displayed indifference to Japan’s angry response.

Yamaguchi’s visit to Beijing marks a start for Tokyo to patch up ties with China, Liu said. The move may prevent further tension from damaging broader ties, Liu said.

The Japanese government on Monday again rejected a request by the Tokyo prefectural government to land on the Diaoyu Islands.

But Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said on Tuesday he will continue to seek approval, Kyodo news agency said.

Ishihara in April publicized a plan by the Tokyo prefectural government to "buy" the islands from a so-called private owner.

The Japanese prime minister also announced last month his cabinet’s plan to "nationalize" the islands.

Chinese analysts said ties between the two Asian giants will face uncertainty.

"Putting aside the intentions behind the letter, we should remain alert and we cannot be too optimistic," said Wang Ping, a specialist on Japanese studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Kyodo quoted Japanese government sources as saying that the cabinet is speeding up its plan to "nationalize" the islands in September.

Feng Wei, a specialist on Japanese studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, warned the move will cause outrage in China.
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