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China hits back at Japan PM's statement on islands
Posted 9/27/2012 5:14 AM ET

BEIJING (AP) -- China on Thursday attacked Japan's prime minister as obstinate and wrong for saying his nation won't compromise in their dispute over who owns tiny islands in the East China Sea.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said in New York a day earlier that the islands are clearly an "inherent part of our territory, in light of history and international law." He said that issues over the islands should be resolved peacefully and by the rule of law.

"China is strongly disappointed and sternly opposes the Japanese leader's obstinacy regarding his wrong position" on the matter, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement that repeated China's stance that Japan was ignoring historical facts and international laws.

"The country seriously challenges the post-war international order, but tries to take the rules of international law as a cover. This is self-deceiving," Qin said in a separate statement.

Senior diplomats from both countries have met this week in New York and Beijing in an attempt to mend ties frayed by the spat over the island group in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

The islands, held by Japan, are uninhabited but sit astride rich fishing waters and potentially large reserves of natural gas. They are also claimed by Taiwan.

Japan's purchase of some of the islands from their private Japanese owners two weeks ago sparked sometimes violent protests in China that targeted Japanese-owned stores and factories.

Noda defended the purchase as an attempt to ensure their "stable management," but conceded "it seems that China has yet to understand that."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Posted 9/27/2012 5:14 AM ET
Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda addresses a news conference in New York on Wednesday.
Craig Ruttle, AP
Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda addresses a news conference in New York on Wednesday.