China, Japan rift comes to a head

Associated Press

Beijing, April 18:

Washington concerned over growing tensions between the two countries.

China today blamed Japan and demanded an apology for what it called their worst diplomatic row since 1972, while Tokyo said it was dissappointed in Beijing’s lack of regret over violent protests that have left windows smashed at Japanese diplomatic missions, even as a report from Tokyo quoted the new US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer as saying today that Washington was concerned about the growing tension between Japan and China. Simmering tensions over several issues came to a boiling point this month when Japan approved a new textbook that critics say whitewashes the country’s World War II atrocities. Protesters in several Chinese cities also have rallied against Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said at a press conference Japan had failed to handle “historical issues correctly” — an apparent reference to the new textbooks.

Yesterday, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura flew to Beijing to seek an apology and compensation for damage. His Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing declined, saying China had not wronged the Japanese and that Tokyo had hurt the feelings of Chinese. Li told Machimura that Tokyo must take “concrete action” to show it is facing up to history, the China Daily newspaper reported on its Web site. Meanwhile, Japan said that it was disappointed by China’s lack of regret over the anti-Japanese demonstrations, and its failure to explain how the rallies escalated into riots that left windows smashed. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told reporters in Tokyo, “We find it extremely regrettable that no clear explanation or apology was presented”.

Furore in Vietnam

HANOI: Dozens of people joined a peaceful anti-Japan protest outside the Japanese Embassy in the Vietnamese capital on Sunday, embassy officials said on Monday. About 50 people, many wearing red headbands and holding Chinese flags and placards protested Tokyo’s bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, said embassy staff. — AP

School fired on

TOKYO: Shots were fired on Monday at a Chinese language school in Tokyo hitting a door but causing no injuries, in the latest apparent backlash against violent anti-Japanese demonstrations in China, police and media said. Hate mail was delivered to the Chinese consulate in Fukuoka, Kyodo News agency reported. — AP