Friction likely to disrupt 40th anniversary events

JIJI

Events to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China could be canceled or affected by growing tensions over territorial disputes, diplomatic sources said.

The two countries are “not in a situation to hold a festival,” one source familiar with bilateral relations said, referring to a major exchange event scheduled from Sept. 1 to 2 in Beijing.

The event is to feature festivals and dances in Japan’s disaster-hit northeast, the sources said.

Sino-Japanese relations have once again soured after Japanese authorities last week arrested and quickly deported Chinese activists who landed on the disputed East China Sea islets known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan.

Large demonstrations opposing Japan’s claim to the islands were held in more than 25 Chinese cities Sunday.

On the same day as the protests, meanwhile, 10 Japanese nationals landed on the islands to raise Japanese flags. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying lodged a protest with Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa, who replied that Tokyo cannot accept the protest.

Japan hopes that Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend another event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sept. 27, two days before the anniversary.

However, one diplomatic source said that “No Chinese leaders would be eager to promote Japan-China relations in this situation.”