`Island row will damage Japan’s trade ties with China’

September 19th, 2012 - 1:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Sep 19 (IANS) Japan’s “purchase” of the disputed Diaoyu Islands will certainly affect and damage the development of economic and trade relations with China, the commerce ministry said Wednesday.

“It is not what we wish to see, for which Japan should take full responsibility,” commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said at a press conference.

The Diaoyu Islands have been China’s inherent territory since ancient times, Shen said.

Historical documents show that the islands appeared on China’s map since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), more than 400 years before Japan claimed discovery of the islands in 1884, reported Xinhua.

China ranks as Japan’s largest trading partner, with the latter being China’s fourth largest. Trade between the two countries accounts for about 20 percent of Japan’s total foreign trade.

“The farce of buying the Diaoyu Islands seriously violates China’s territorial sovereignty and severely hurts the feelings of the Chinese people, which have aroused strong indignation and opposition across the nation,” the spokesman said.

Protests against Japan’s “purchase” of the islands have been seen across China over the past few days. Many Japanese enterprises have suspended production as agitated Chinese people staged protests to boycott Japanese goods.

Shen voiced support to rational patriotic activities, saying that the ministry will firmly oppose illegal acts, including looting, during protests.

Legitimate interests of foreign companies are under the protection of Chinese laws, Shen said, adding that foreign companies should seek help from local authorities when encountering offences.

The dispute over the islands has already cast a shadow over Sino-Japan trade, as trips to Japan were largely cancelled at Chinese travel agencies. Sales of Japanese products, especially automobiles and electronics, have dropped sharply in China during the past month.

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