China postpones senior officials visit to Japan over row

September 14, 2010 05:49


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TOKYO — Japan said Tuesday that China has postponed a senior official's visit to Tokyo in an escalating diplomatic row over the arrest of a Chinese fishing captain after a ship collision near islands claimed by both countries.

The captain was arrested after his ship collided nearly a week ago with two Japanese patrol boats near a set of disputed East China Sea islands, setting off a row between the world's second- and third-largest economies.

The dispute has prompted anti-Japanese activists in China and Taiwan — which also claims the islands — to sail to the area in protest missions, although both governments have sought to rein them in so as not to inflame tensions further.

Li Jianguo, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, was scheduled to visit Japan for a five-day trip starting Wednesday at the invitation of the Japanese lower house of parliament.

But Beijing told Tokyo on Monday that it wanted to delay Li's visit for "various reasons," said Shu Kajita, an official at Japan's lower house of parliament. Kajita said Chinese officials did not elaborate on the reasons for the postponement.

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