China ships in Japan waters off isles

September 24, 2012 7:37 am

On Sunday, Chinese state media announced Beijing was “postponing” celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic ties.

A ceremony, which was due to take place on Thursday, was to be hosted by a friendship organisation. It has been held every decade and never before been cancelled.

The Japanese government on Monday described the cancellation as “regrettable”.

“It is important that we deepen the overall strategic and mutually beneficial relationship between Japan and China, without letting an individual event affect ties,” Fujimura told reporters.

Asia’s two largest economies have wrangled since the 1970s about the islands, which lie on important shipping lanes and are believed to harbour mineral resources.

“It is important that we deepen the overall strategic and mutually beneficial relationship between Japan and China, without letting an individual event affect ties,” Fujimura told reporters.

Periodically the row flares, sometimes affecting the multi-billion dollar trade ties between the two nations.

Disputes have usually been salved with the passage of time.

But the latest episode, which comes as China is in the process of a delicate leadership transition and as Japan’s political scene has become increasingly unstable, shows no signs of dying down.

On Saturday around 800 Japanese demonstrators waved national flags as they marched through downtown Tokyo, denouncing Beijing as a “brute state” and “fascist” in the first mass-rally since the dispute began.

Japanese dailies the Mainichi and the Yomiuri said Monday that Tokyo was hoping the two countries’ foreign ministers would be able to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this week.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal ahead of the UN meet, Noda warned China’s attitude could damage its economy.

He said Japanese companies were now facing a form of economic harassment in China.

“Recent delays in customs and visa issuance are of concern,” he said.

“Damaging our ties over such things would be bad for not just the two countries’ economies, but for the global economy.”

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