China’s leading foreign policy official raised the stakes in the latest diplomatic dispute with Japan on Sunday, warning Tokyo not to make “wrong judgments” over the seizure of a Chinese fishing boat in contested waters.
The warning from State Councillor Dai Bingguo came after China, on Friday, postponed negotiations with Japan over disputed undersea gas beds in the East China Sea in protest over the detention of the captain of the Chinese boat.
Mr Dai issued the warning after summoning the Japanese ambassador in what Xinhua’s English language service described as “the wee hours”, the fourth time that Uichiro Niwa has been called to meet Chinese officials over the incident near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands.
The fishing boat collided with Japanese patrol vessels last week after it ignored warnings to leave the area near the islands, known in Chinese as the Diaoyu, and refused to stop for an inspection, Japan’s coast guard said. The captain was arrested and the ship detained.
Mr Dai, who holds a position in the Communist party’s hierarchy above the foreign minister and advises senior leaders on policy, rarely gets involved in such disputes, an indication that Beijing wants to increase the pressure on Tokyo. According to Xinhua, he said Japan should seek “a wise political resolution” and immediately release the Chinese fishermen.
After a Japanese court ruled on Friday that the captain could be held in detention for 10 days while prosecutors decide whether to charge him, Jiang Yu, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said Beijing would withdraw from the next round of talks about the undersea gas, scheduled for mid-September.
“The Diaoyu islands, and its adjacent islets, have been Chinese territory since ancient times. Japan’s acts have violated the law of nations and basic international common sense,” she said. “Japan will reap as it has sowed, if it continues to act recklessly.”
The postponement of the gas talks marks a clear setback on an issue that has become a test case of whether Japan and China can put aside territorial issues in favour of co-operation.
China and Japan disagree on the extent of their East China Sea exclusive economic zones, with Tokyo arguing its zone extends to a median line between the two countries and Beijing insisting its zone stretches much closer to Japan.
根据新华社的一篇英文报道，戴秉国在“凌晨”召见日本驻华大使丹羽宇一郎(Uichiro Niwa)时发出了上述警告，这是丹羽宇一郎第四次就日本控制的钓鱼岛(Senkaku islands)附近发生的这起事件被要求与中国官员会晤。