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Wen vows no concession

By Li Xiaokun and Zhang Yunbi  (Xinhua)

08:20, September 11, 2012

Beijing slams Tokyo's decision to 'purchase' Diaoyu Islands

Premier Wen Jiabao said China will "make absolutely no concession" on territory after Japan's decision on Monday to "nationalize" the Diaoyu Islands.

Tokyo's decision sparked a focused and determined response from Beijing, including the possibility, experts said, that territorial coordinates, clearly defining the islands' geographic location, could be sent to the United Nations.

Top legislator Wu Bangguo, on a visit to Iran, also reiterated Beijing's stance that the islands belong to China and have for centuries.

Wen's remarks came a day after President Hu Jintao told Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, during an encounter at the APEC summit, that "Japan must realize the seriousness of the situation".

Observers of ties between Asia's largest economies said Beijing has, for the first time, placed extra emphasis on territorial sovereignty over waters around the islands, in a "powerful response" to Japan.

The risk has increased that Sino-Japanese relations will spiral out of control over the issue, they said.

The Japanese government officially decided to "purchase" the islands on Monday afternoon and Osamu Fujimura, chief cabinet secretary, said the aim was to "nationalize" the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea as soon as possible.

Fujimura did not disclose the purchase price, but Japanese media reported last week that the government was set to pay 2.05 billion yen ($26.26 million).

The deal is likely to be finalized on Tuesday.

China-Japan ties have been strained since Shintaro Ishihara, the right-wing Tokyo governor, unveiled plans on behalf of the city government to "buy" the islands in April.

Noda announced a plan in July to "nationalize" the islands, a move that prompted immediate protests from Beijing.

In response to the developments, Beijing announced territorial coordinates — base points and baselines — for waters off the islands.

It also announced plans to implement "normalized surveillance and monitoring" of the islands.

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