Japanese comments torpedo meeting

10:56, October 30, 2010      

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The long-awaited summit meeting between Beijing and Tokyo failed to take place on Friday, which a senior Chinese official said was a result of the Japanese ruining the atmosphere.

Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue accused the Japanese of violating China's sovereignty and territorial integrity through statements they made to the media during meetings by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its partner nations.

"The Japanese should take full responsibility for the consequences," Hu told reporters on Friday night.

The Japanese also made false statements about the content of a meeting between Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers held earlier in the day and misrepresented China's stance on implementing the consensus on the East China Sea, he said.

Hu also noted that before the East Asian leaders meeting, Japanese foreign ministry authorities played up the issue of the Diaoyu Islands with other countries.

"Their actions before and during the summits have damaged the atmosphere between the leaders of the two countries," Hu said.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with his Japanese counterpart, Seiji Maehara, and reaffirmed China's stance on the Diaoyu Islands.

The two agreed that it is in their fundamental interest to maintain and promote relations, and reach a consensus on maintaining regular contact and making efforts to further develop ties.

Relations have been strained since a collision between two Japanese Coast Guard patrol boats and a Chinese trawler on Sept 7 in waters off the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

Beijing suspended all high-level contact with Tokyo after Japan detained the Chinese trawler captain.

Premier Wen Jiabao and his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan last met in Brussels earlier this month in a hallway on the sidelines of a summit for Asian and European leaders.

Feng Zhaokui, former deputy chief of the Institute of Japan Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily that Wen and Kan's meeting at the East Asian leaders' summit is "within reason".

But Feng noted that although Kan wants to smooth ties with China, Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and some Japanese media are pursuing tough policies on China.

"Looking from the outside, Tokyo is wavering on whether to repair ties or hold onto disputes with China. They are at sea themselves," said Feng.

"The appointment of Seiji Maehara as the new foreign minister shows Kan's cabinet is seeking a harder diplomatic strategy toward China," said Zhou Yongsheng, a professor of Japanese studies at the China Foreign Affairs University. "But when they found the policy didn't work, they made a U-turn and released the captain."

Wang Chenyan and Zhang Jing contributed to the story.

By Qin Jize and Cheng Guangjin, China Daily


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