SCMP’s Keith Zhai reports, “Japan‘s ambassador to China returned to Beijing yesterday afternoon, dismissing concerns that Tokyo may have contemplated removing him because of his perceived pro-China stance.”
“Kyodo News Agency reported that Uichiro Niwa met Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba in Tokyo on Sunday afternoon to discuss the rising tensions over an East China Sea territorial dispute involving the DiaoyuIslands, which Japan calls the SenkakuIslands. Niwa was instructed to ‘accurately convey’ to Beijing that the islands are Japanese territory, the report said.
“Gemba said after the meeting that he summoned Niwa home amid ‘new trends’ involving the disputed islands, and for a briefing on the current mindset among Chinese about Japan. He also dismissed speculation that the government planned to dismiss Niwa, amid calls by opposition parties for his resignation.”
SCMP says, “The latest flare-up between Beijing and Tokyo over the disputed islands in the East China Sea was unlikely to develop into a full-blown diplomatic crisis despite media hype, mainland scholars on China-Japan affairs say.
“Sino-Japanese relations were thrown into fresh uncertainty on Saturday when Japanese ambassador to Beijing Uichiro Niwa was recalled to discuss a response to the new row over the DiaoyuIslands, known as the Senkakus in Japan.
“Niwa told Kyodo News Agency at Beijing airport yesterday when leaving the country that discussions would focus on recent developments over the disputed islands. ‘I don’t have a schedule yet, but I will come back to China right after I finish the consultations,’ Niwa was quoted as saying by Kyodo.
“The Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday that Niwa would go back to China today.”