CHINA has postponed a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties with Japan due to an ongoing territorial dispute.
The postponement was announced on Sunday by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Xinhua newsagency reported.
“Due to the current situation, the Chinese side has decided that the reception commemorating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations will be postponed until an appropriate time,” Xinhua cited an official as saying.
The official from the Chinese friendship association, which is close to China’s foreign ministry, was referring to the ongoing row that centres on the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. The islands are claimed by Beijing under the name Diaoyu.
The ceremony was due to take place on September 27.
Asia’s two largest economies have wrangled about the islands since the 1970s, but the row flared in August after pro-China activists landed on one of them.
Tensions escalated dramatically after the Japanese government subsequently bought three of them from their private owners.
The escalating row saw hundreds of Japanese rally on Saturday against Beijing’s handling of the issue, days after anti-Japanese protests saw shops and factories vandalised in China.
Some 800 demonstrators waved national flags as they marched through downtown Tokyo, denouncing Beijing as a “brute state” and “fascist”.
Protesters marched through Tokyo’s Roppongi entertainment district, near the Chinese embassy, shouting: “We will never give in to China’s military threat!”
Japan’s coastguard said Saturday it was monitoring seven Chinese ships in waters near to the island chain. There had been 14 in the area on Wednesday.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Friday said many of the ceremonies marking the 40th anniversary of Sino-Japanese diplomatic ties had been impacted by the row.
“Many plans have been ruined due to the mistaken actions of the Japanese side (and) many of the planned commemoration events have been impacted,” Hong told reporters.
“This is something that we do not hope to see. The responsibility lies entirely with the Japanese side.”