China's stance on East China Sea, Diaoyu Island consistent

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China's stance on the East China Sea and Diaoyu Island remains clear and consistent, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on Monday.

China and Japan have encountered some twists and turns in reaching a common ground on the East China Sea issue. The two sides should properly handle this sensitive issue based on strategic mutual benefits and create sound condition and environment to sort out the issue, Yang told a press conference. [More about FM press conference]

"We have every reason to believe that the East China Sea should be a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship. China has no change in stance in this regard," he said.

He also maintained China's position on the Diaoyu Island is clear and consistent.

"Diaoyu Island is a sensitive issue, which should be handled carefully. We have told the Japan side that last year's accident should not repeat," he noted.

China believes the China-Japan relations are one of the most important bilateral relations for both countries. Maintaining sound ties is a wise choice for both. We hope the two sides could keep the relations in the right direction, he said.

China-Japan relations have been strained since a collision between two Japanese Coast Guard patrol ships and a Chinese trawler on Sept. 7 last year in waters off the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

Japan detained the trawler's captain despite China's protests. In response, China halted bilateral exchanges at and above provincial and ministerial levels and suspended talks on expanding aviation services between the two countries.

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