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Saturday, 11 September 2010

China and Japan: Calling a Halt

The tension between China and Japan has continued to grow this week in relation to the detention of a Chinese fisherman and his crew after their boat was encountered by two Japanese vessels in the East China Sea.  With the BBC reporting that the People's Republic has suspended planned diplomatic talks between the two nations (in response to the decision of a Japanese court to extend the fishermen's detention by 10 days), it seems that neither side is willing to give ground over the issue.

The verdict of some analysts this week was that the incident is unlikely to cause a serious setback in Sino-Japanese relations, and that both parties are in many ways going through the motions in lodging protests, complaints and the like.  However, more and more this issue is becoming one of national pride, as demonstrated by the suspension of this latest round of diplomatic talks- if China is prepared to put exchanges with Japan on the line to press its point, it is clear that there is much more at stake than the interests of the Chinese sailors.  How Japan responds to this latest move by the Chinese government will be equally as telling.

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