Wed, 22 Sep 2010 09:43:54 GMT

No joke this: China about to attack Japan?

Beijing: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao threatened more steps against Japan unless it releases a trawler captain Tokyo accuses of deliberating colliding with a Japanese coastguard ship near disputed islands.

No joke this: China about to attack Japan?

This file handout picture released from the Japan Coast Guard shows a Chinese fishing boat which was seized by a Japanese Coast Guard patrol boat near a group of disputed islands on September 7. The dispute between Beijing and Tokyo, sparked by Japan's arrest of the Chinese skipper in disputed waters almost two weeks ago, has turned into the worst row in years between Asia's two biggest economies. AFP

In the first comments by a senior Chinese leader on the issue, he told a meeting of overseas Chinese and Chinese Americans in New York on Tuesday that the skipper must be set free unconditionally.

"Otherwise, China will take further actions," state news agency Xinhua quoted Wen as saying. The report did not elaborate. But Beijing has already suspended high-level contacts with Japan over the issue and postponed talks about increasing flights between the two sides.

"The Japanese side bears full responsibility for the current situation, and it shall bear all the consequences that arise," Wen added. Xinhua said Wen demanded Japan to "swiftly correct its mistakes to bring bilateral ties back on track, a move that will be not only conducive to bilateral ties, but also to world peace, cooperation and development."

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