China in threat to Japan over detainee
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last night threatened more retaliation against Japan unless it releases a trawler captain whom Tokyo accuses of ramming two Japanese coastguard ships near disputed islands.
Japanese leaders urged calm but showed no sign of backing down on an issue that one analyst said is largely a row over energy resources in the sea around the islands that both claim.
In the first comments by a senior Chinese leader on the issue, he told a meeting of ethnic Chinese in New York on Tuesday that the skipper must be set free unconditionally.
"The Japanese side has paid no heed to China's numerous serious representations, and so China cannot but take necessary countermeasures," he said in comments on the Foreign Ministry's website yesterday.
Beijing has suspended high-level contacts with Japan over the issue and postponed talks on increasing flights between two countries with close business and trade ties.