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China says it will act against Japan

China's premier threatened action against Japan if Tokyo does not immediately release a detained ship captain, in his first comments amid a growing fight over disputed islands.

world Updated: Sep 23, 2010 01:10 IST
AP

China's premier threatened action against Japan if Tokyo does not immediately release a detained ship captain, in his first comments amid a growing fight over disputed islands.

Wen Jiabao's remarks on Tuesday night in New York were the first by a top Chinese leader on the issue that has led Beijing to suspend ministerial-level contacts with Tokyo. China also has said Wen would not meet with Japanese PM Naoto Kan during UN meetings in New York this week.

In his comments Wen laid the blame for the dispute entirely at Japan's door. Tokyo ''bears full responsibility for the situation, and it will bear all consequences,'' he said to a gathering of overseas Chinese.

China-Japan relations are at their worst in half a decade, after Japan arrested the Chinese captain of a fishing boat that collided two weeks ago with Japanese coast guard vessels near islands in the East China Sea claimed by both nations. Japan extended his detention Sunday, and China responded by suspending contacts.

The dispute over the islands, known as Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu or Diaoyutai in Chinese, comes as an increasingly confident China — its economy booming and military expanding — asserts its presence in the region.

Anti-Japanese protests have already flared in numerous locations around China, and the dispute has spilled into cultural ties. Beijing abruptly cancelled invitations to 1,000 Japanese youth to the Shanghai expo, while Japanese pop group SMAP has called off a Shanghai concert.

First Published: Sep 23, 2010 01:09 IST