China premier threatens Japan over boat dispute

BEIJING — China's premier has threatened Japan for the first time in a growing fight over disputed islands, saying his country will take "further actions" if Japan does not immediately release a ship captain whose detention has splintered relations between the Asia powers.

Wen Jiabao's comments Tuesday night in New York were the first by a top Chinese leader on the issue that has led Beijing to suspend ministerial-level contacts with Tokyo. China also has said Wen would not meet with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan during UN meetings in New York this week.

In comments carried on the website of China's Foreign Ministry, Wen laid the blame for the dispute entirely at Japan's door.

Tokyo "bears full responsibility for the situation, and it will bear all consequences," he said to a gathering of overseas Chinese.