Beijing: China on Thursday warned Japan not to
"shift the blame" in their ongoing row, saying the arrest of a
Chinese fishing boat captain in disputed waters was the
"fundamental cause" of the problem.
The row, which began seven weeks ago when the boat
collided with two Japanese coastguard vessels near contested
islands in the East China Sea, has put a severe strain on ties
between the neighbours, Asia`s top two economies.
Tokyo has accused Beijing of using its near-global
monopoly on the trade in rare earths, minerals vital to
Japanese high-tech manufacturers, as a weapon in the simmering
spat -- an accusation rejected by a Chinese official
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister
Naoto Kan, who met briefly early this month in Brussels, will
be in Vietnam this week for an East Asian summit, but no talks
have been scheduled thus far.
"Japan`s illegal detention of the Chinese fisherman
and fishing boat off the Diaoyu islands is a fundamental cause
of the deterioration of the situation," foreign ministry
spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters.
"Any attempt by Japan to shift the blame on the
Chinese side will not get anywhere."
The islands, known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in
Japan, lie in an area that has rich fishing grounds and is
believed to contain oil and natural gas reserves.