HomeInternationalJapan to send envoy to Nobel peace ceremony

Japan to send envoy to Nobel peace ceremony

JAPAN said on Wednesday it will send an envoy to attend a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honouring Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, in a move that could thwart recent efforts by Tokyo and Beijing to cool tensions.

Ties between Asia’s two biggest economies have deteriorated since September after Japan detained a Chinese skipper whose trawler collided with Japan patrol vessels off islands in the East China Sea that both countries claim.
The skipper was later released and sent home, but tensions have festered, prompting worries about fallout for business ties.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, under fire from domestic critics accusing him of mishandling the row, tried to mute the dispute last week with an ice-breaking meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of a regional summit.
But top government spokesman Yoshito Sengoku said Japan would attend the December 10 Nobel ceremony in Oslo, despite a request from China to skip the event.
“I have heard from the foreign ministry it has sent notification that our ambassador in Norway will attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony,” Sengoku told a news conference.
Kan, in office for just five months, has been criticised at home for seeming to cave in to Beijing demands when it freed the Chinese skipper. Support for his government has slumped below 30%, complicating efforts to pass bills in parliament.
European countries are also planning to attend the Nobel ceremony, rebuffing calls from China to boycott the event.
Liu is serving an 11-year jail term on subversion charges for his role in advocating democracy and an end to the Chinese Communist Party’s monopoly of power. — Reuters.

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