Japan to deport island activists
Japan is today deporting 14 Chinese activists who were detained after some of them landed on an island claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing.
Japanese television showed the activists making "V" signs as they were driven to the airport amid anger in China and South Korea that shows the latest flare-up in territorial rows is far from over.
The activists were detained on Wednesday after using a boat to land on the rocky, uninhabited isles known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Since then Beijing has issued a succession of demands for their immediate release.
The quarrel over the islands, which lie near potentially rich gas reserves, is one of several dogging Japan's ties with Asian neighbours China and South Korea nearly seven decades after the end of the second World War.
In 2010, tensions between Beijing and Tokyo flared after Japan seized a Chinese fishing trawler in the same waters after it collided with a Japanese patrol boat and detained its captain for more than two weeks. The two sides appear eager to avoid a similar diplomatic showdown this time.
Japan's relations with former colony South Korea have also worsened after South Korean president Lee Myung-bak visited other disputed islands on August 10th.
The islands are believed to contain frozen natural gas deposits potentially worth billions of dollars.
Japan's finance minister Jun Azumi said todayhe was postponing a trip to South Korea for a bilateral finance ministers' summit scheduled for August 24th because Mr Lee's visit to the disputed islands cannot be overlooked.
Japan will also review a bilateral currency swap agreement struck with South Korea last year, Mr Azumi said.
Renewed maritime tensions with China have echoed China's recent tangles with Southeast Asian counties over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea.