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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Yahoo! News - China urges calm after Japan demands apology for submarine intrusion

Yahoo! News - China urges calm after Japan demands apology for submarine intrusionChina urges calm after Japan demands apology for submarine intrusion

Sat Nov 13, 8:26 AM ET World - AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - China urged Japan to stay calm in solving bilateral disputes a day after Tokyo demanded an apology for the intrusion of a Chinese nuclear submarine into Japanese waters.
"Sometimes there are problems between China and Japan, but we should respect each other and need to seek a solution in a calm manner," Chinese Ambassador Wang Yi told a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in western Japan.

Wang made no direct reference to the submarine incident, according to Jiji Press, but used the speech to take a new swipe at Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi over his visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine which honors Japanese war dead including convicted war criminals.

If Japan "justifies class-A war criminals, who were the symbols of Japanese militarism, it not only hurts the feelings of Chinese people but reverses the foundation of Sino-Japanese relations," Wang said.

China harbors deep resentment over its brutal occupation by Japan from 1931 to 1945. Bilateral friction has been growing, including over Koizumi's visits to the shrine and a gas field disputed by the major energy importers.

Japan says the submarine violated its waters for two hours Wednesday near the disputed gas field, triggering a two-day chase on the high seas.

After initial caution about blaming its neighbor, Japan said Friday that the submarine belonged to the Chinese navy and demanded an apology. It summoned Chinese embassy number two Cheng Yonghua, as the ambassador was out of Tokyo.

Cheng told Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura he could not apologize as his government's investigation over the submarine was pending, a Japanese diplomat in Beijing said.

Japanese newspapers said Saturday the country's distrust of China had grown due to the submarine's intrusion.

"Tokyo had every reason to request an apology from Beijing for its violation of Japanese sovereignty and demand it ensure nothing like the recent incident will ever happen again," the best-selling Yomiuri Shimbun said in an editorial.

"The Chinese submarine's behavior was enough to arouse our great distrust," it said.

The Mainichi Shimbun, which is known for its liberal views, said Beijing should respond promptly to the apology demand.

"The fact is clear that (China) has entered our territorial waters," the Mainichi said in an editorial.

"China must immediately disclose the outcome of its investigation and come up with preventive measures," it said. "We demand China's honest response."

The conservative daily Sankei Shimbun called China's behavior "unforgivable."

"At least China must clarify the cause of the incident and promise us it will never do this again," the Sankei said in an editorial, adding that Japan should take unspecified "counter-measures" if China failed to show an "honest response."

"If we are soft in handling the incident, China will likely repeat illegal acts over and over," the Sankei said.

The major liberal daily Asahi Shimbun did not have an editorial on the submarine intrusion, but quoted a senior foreign ministry official as saying: "This is a game of diplomacy. We'll see how they respond and find out whether China is a country like North Korea (news - web sites) or a country with transparency."

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