Chinese FM’s plea to people for calm

Associated Press

Beijing, April 20:

China’s government today appealed to its public to end fierce protests over Japan’s handling of its wartime history and its campaign for a permanent UN Security Council seat, while the UN chief urged the two nations to hold a summit to defuse their row.

In comments widely reported today by state television and newspapers, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing appealed for calm and said the public should not take part in unauthorized demonstrations. “Express yourselves calmly, rationally and in an orderly fashion,” Li was quoted as saying. “Do not participate in unapproved marches and other activities and do not do anything that will affect social stability.”

The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was heading to Indonesia to attend this week’s Asia-Africa summit, urged Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao to hold a one-on-one meeting at the summit over the weekend.

A report from Tokyo said Japan’s top opposition leader, Katsuya Okada, accused Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Parliament today of neglecting the country’s Asian neighbours and failing to defuse escalating tensions with China.