09/26/2012, 00.00
CHINA - JAPAN
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At the UN, Japanese and Chinese FMs try to stop escalation over the Diaoyu/Senkaku

In a tense atmosphere, the foreign ministers of China and Japan meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Despite rising nationalist sentiments, both sides agree to "maintain lines of communication" and protect a deteriorating trading relationship.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Tensions are still running high between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, which both nations (and Taiwan) claim.

After Japanese ships sprayed some 50 Chinese fishing boats to force them back, Japan called on China to avoid an escalation between the two nations.

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba made the formal request during a very tense meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.

The two ministers met in New York City on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

The meeting had been initially cancelled but the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku is having a negative impact on their respective economies.

In view of the situation, both agreed to "maintain lines of communication".

Still, Japan's car giant Nissan will suspend its Chinese production from 27 September (three days earlier than planned) and resume output on 8 October because of the current market situation. The reference here is to the thousands of people who have been allowed by Communist authorities to take part in anti-Japanese protests.

Toyota Motor Corp also plans stop all production this month, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported today. It has also recalled its Japanese staff until things quiet down.

Trade between the two sides is also down, by 2 per cent, because of nationalism.

The value of the islands is not clear. They might be strategically important because they are the middle of several maritime routes. They may also have rich fishing grounds, and the seabed might contain vast gas reserves.

In 2008, in an attempt at détente, China and Japan signed an agreement to develop the islands' resources jointly, but it was never implemented.

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