China says Japan should make substantial efforts to improve ties

Aug. 2, 2013 at 1:59 AM
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BEIJING, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- China, locked in a bitter territorial dispute with Japan, strongly asserted its neighbor must make "substantial efforts" to improve bilateral relations.

Beijing conveyed its message both through its Foreign Ministry spokeswoman and strongly worded commentaries in its official media, which were also directed at the United States, Japan's chief ally.

The Chinese reactions came following a two-day Beijing visit by Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki.

China's relations with Japan have worsened because of their territorial dispute over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which are also claimed by Beijing, which calls them Diaoyu Islands. China also sees Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose party came to power in December, as a hawk on the island dispute.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying blamed Japan for the current tensions and said "the Japanese side should correct their mistakes and make substantial efforts to get rid of the obstacles in the way of the development of bilateral relationship," the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Referring to Japan's repeated calls for a dialogue with China soon without any conditions, Hua said: "It will not help to solve the problem with only empty slogans calling for a dialogue."

She also said Beijing also wants to resolve the island issue through dialogue.

She went to say that Japan keeps acting provocatively while chanting empty slogans "without any sincerity for dialogue at all."

In an earlier commentary referring to Saiki's visit, Xinhua said the senior diplomat was believed to be working for a possible summit between Chinese and Japanese leaders.

"By playing the good guy, Japan is trying to gain international support and sympathy, but the goodwill gesture is just one face of Abe," Xinhua said.

"However, a hawkish Abe wasted no time in pledging coast guard patrol boats to the Philippines when he was in Manila (recently), a move apparently designed to embolden the Philippines to confront China at their separate territorial dispute."

The report said such a stand "is in line with Abe's hard line position on the Diaoyu Islands," and that the Japanese leader "has been flatly denying the existence of a dispute with China, effectively shutting the door for any candid talks."

The report also said Abe has been pushing to revise Japan's pacifist constitution "to allow for full-fledged military buildup," adding all such "aggressive moves" have exposed the other face of Abe, which may lead to a dangerous path of confrontation.

In another recent report, Xinhua blamed the United States of turning "a blind eye to the irresponsible deeds" of its long time ally even as the rest of the world raises "its eyebrows about the offensive rightist remarks of some Japanese politicians."

Among its complaints, the report cited U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's recent reiteration of the U.S. rebalancing policy toward the Asia-Pacific region and said Washington wants a stronger Japan to compete with China and Russia.

"Biden said recently that the United States 'can walk and chew gum at the same time.' The question is: Is Washington capable of sealing Japan's militarism in the jar when it grows into a giant one day?" the Xinhua report said.

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