China, Japan sink deeper into diplomatic feud


AFP

HANOI — A feud between China and Japan deepened at an Asian summit Friday, as China angrily not only accused its rival of making false comments and hopes for landmark talks but also voiced strong dissatisfaction over remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the disputed islands. Asia’s two big powers have been embroiled in their worst diplomatic row in years, sparked by a territorial dispute that has escalated into protests, scrapped meetings and allegations China is freezing exports of vital minerals. China voiced strong dissatisfaction over remarks by Hillary Clinton that the disputed Senkakus islands fall within the scope of the U.S.-Japan security alliance. “China expresses its serious concern and strong dissatisfaction with remarks of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement on the ministry website. “The Chinese government and people will never accept any word or deed that includes the Diaoyu (Senkakus) Islands within the scope of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.”

Following her meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara in Hawaii Thursday, Clinton said the Senkakus Islands, known in Chinese as the Diaoyu Islands, fall within the scope of the U.S.-Japan security alliance. All eyes at the East Asian Summit in Vietnam’s capital have been on the sparring match and whether the rival premiers, China’s Wen Jiabao and Japan’s Naoto Kan, would hold highly anticipated direct talks. The prospects appeared good after Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara met with his China counterpart early Friday, saying they had agreed to improve ties and that the two-way summit would “probably take place in Hanoi.” But there was confusion later as the Japanese delegation announced the meeting was on, and then shortly afterwards retracted is statement without giving any details. China then broke its silence with Hu Zhengyue, China’s assistant foreign affairs minister, using extremely strong terms to condemn Japan’s behaviour at the 16-nation East Asia Summit. “During the summit in Hanoi, Japan continuously released comments through media that infringe China’s sovereignty and territory integrity,” he said according to Dow Jones Newswires. “What Japan has done, which is seen by everybody, has deteriorated the necessary atmosphere for a meeting of leaders from the two countries. Japan should take full responsibility for the result,” he said. Maehara had said earlier that in an important step, he and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi had agreed to resume negotiations over the development of a disputed gas field in the East China Sea. “We agreed that we will make efforts to improve the ties between Japan and China and press forward the strategic, mutually beneficial relationship. The Chinese side also agreed on it,” Maehara told reporters. “We also agreed that we will resume the negotiations on the gas field development in the East China Sea,” he said.