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Japanese cops arrest Chinese on disputed island

China today blamed Japan for escalating tension over a group of disputed islands called Diaoyu (Senkaku in Japanese) in the East China sea after Tokyo ordered the arrest of five people from Hong Kong who landed on one of the uninhabited islands. Sutirtho Patranobis reports.

world Updated: Aug 15, 2012 23:45 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

China on Wednesday blamed Japan for escalating tension over a group of disputed islands called Diaoyu (Senkaku in Japanese) in the East China sea after Tokyo ordered the arrest of five people from Hong Kong who landed on one of the uninhabited islands.

Japan arrested five Chinese citizens from Hong Kong who landed on the Diaoyu Islands at around 5:30pm local time on Wednesday, reports from Tokyo quoted police from Japan's Okinawa.

Two other activists who also landed on the islands returned to the fishing vessel, said the police.

"The tensions are fully due to irresponsible clamoring and attempts by some Japanese politicians and activists to claim the islands, which are in the East China Sea and indisputably belong to China," state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The islands at present are controlled by the Japanese.

China put the blame on Japan through strong commentaries on Wednesday even as the state media played up Wednesday's date as the 67th anniversary of Japan's unconditional surrender in WWII.

It also praised the effort of the group of people from Hong Kong to land on one of the Diaoyu islands.

"To once again assert China's historically proven sovereignty over the islands, seven activists from Hong Kong landed on one of the islands earlier on Wednesday. The effort - the first successful Chinese landing on the territory since 2004 - came despite Japanese patrol boats guarding the islands," Xinhua said.

It added that the personal safety of the Chinese activists and their property shouldn't be harmed by the Japanese side, "since all they tried to do was only to step foot on part of their motherland."

China has been Japan's largest trading partner for five years and accounted for nearly 21% of its total foreign trade volume in 2011. Japan is China's fourth biggest trading partner after the European Union, the United States and Asean.

It is for sure that the two neighboring countries "separated by a strip of water" have vast potential to develop a strong political and economic relationship, state media said.

"But certain short-sighted Japanese politicians are straining the relationship and ratcheting up tensions to new highs because of their own political agendas and narrow nationalism," it added.