A Chinese top military official has cancelled a trip to Japan amid new diplomatic tensions between the two countries on the disputed islands of Senkaku (called Diaoyu by China).
General Guo Boxiong, who is also a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, was supposed to start his official visit in Japan on Thursday. The visit would have included a meeting with Japan’s prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and a visit to the base of Japan’s self defence forces.
The official reason for cancelling the visit is a “work commitment” of the Chinese general, according to a statement of the Information Office of the National Defense Ministry.
The Japanese news agency Kyodo is however quoting sources who say that the visit was cancelled in protest to the disputed islands issue, as well as a scheduled congress in Japan of the Uyghur group, which China sees as separatist.
In a recent announcement, Tokyo’s conservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara, said he wanted to use public money to buy the disputed Senkaku Islands. Even if many Japanese have appraised the announcement and donated money, the initiative has its critics as well, with the Nikkei Weekly publication saying in an editorial that “Japan should play down the Senkaku dispute with China, as any efforts to raise the profile of the issue further will only make Beijing more vocal in its erroneous territorial claims”.