News24

Japan makes move to appease China

2012-09-24 10:20

Tokyo - The Japanese government said it would dispatch a senior government official on Monday to China to stop the relationship from deteriorating further over territorial spats.

Japan decided to send Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai to China for talks to mend soured relations after its purchase of three disputed islands in the East China Sea, which are also claimed by Beijing and Taipei.

The purchase led to anti-Japan protests in about 100 Chinese cities earlier this month.

China, Japan's largest trade partner, also cancelled a ceremony planned for Thursday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the normalisation of the bilateral relationship.

Japan's purchase "severely damaged China-Japan relations and ruined the atmosphere of the 40th anniversary", the state-run Xinhua News agency reported.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura called the cancellation "very disappointing" at a news conference, but added it "should not influence overall Japan-China ties".

China also cancelled scheduled meetings between Japanese business leaders and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and other Beijing officials.

It was the first time Japan did not send its corporate delegation to the annual talks since they started in 1975. Instead, Hiromasa Yonekura, the chair of the Japan Business Federation, and Toyota Motor chair Fujio Cho were to visit China later this week.

Meanwhile, three Chinese surveillance vessels entered territorial waters claimed by Japan near the islands earlier on Monday, prompting the government to lodge a protest with Beijing, the Kyodo News agency reported.