BEIJING, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday quashed reports of Chinese customs agents delaying clearance of Japanese goods.
"We have noticed the reports, which, according to relevant departments, were inconsistent with the facts," said Hong Lei at a regular press briefing, in response to Japanese media claims that goods exported to China from Japanese companies were delayed during customs clearance, a supposed effect of the two countries' dispute over the Diaoyu Islands.
Hong said Chinese customs agents have been clearing goods exported to China from Japanese companies according to due process, and implementing normal regular inspections.
The spokesman also criticized Japan for bringing about the severe situation of China-Japan relations and souring trade and economic ties, and urged Japan to correct its mistake "with sincerity."
"The unprecedented harsh situation of China-Japan relations was caused by Japan's provoking actions over the Diaoyu Islands issue. China is a country of principle with regard to territorial and sovereign issues. China's territory and sovereignty brook no infringement. It is Japan that should bear responsibility for the soured bilateral economic and trade relations," Hong told journalists.
He said China always stands for a trade and economic relationship on the basis of mutual respect, equality and reciprocity. China and Japan, as the world's second- and third-largest economies, are important trading partners. China attaches importance to trade and economic cooperation with Japan.
"Japan should correct its mistakes with sincerity, properly handle the problems and create a good environment for the recovery of bilateral cooperation," the spokesman said.
As for Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba's recent remarks that rebutted China's claim to the Diaoyu Islands, Hong urged Japan to realize that its provoking actions and words are wrong, and to maintain the overall situation of bilateral ties with "concrete actions."
Japan's Kyodo News Agency quoted Gemba as saying that China began asserting territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu islands in the 1970s, suggesting that China previously had not viewed the islands as part of its territory.
Gemba also cited a letter sent to a Japanese individual from the then consul of the Republic of China in Nagasaki in 1920, and a Chinese map published in 1960 to support his remarks.
Hong retorted that Gemba's materials are fragmented and taken out of context. "To prove his stance with such fragmented materials, regarding such a major and serious issue concerning national territory and sovereignty, only demonstrates that Japan never legally owned the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands," he said.
The spokesman noted that scholars from both China and Japan have conducted full, accurate and rigorous exposition about the historical facts of Japan stealing the Diaoyu Islands from China in the 1895 Sino-Japanese war. Official historical materials of Japan also constitute obvious circumstantial evidence.
"Japan turns a blind eye to and avoids discussion on these facts, and inflates its history of aggression through wars. It is gangster logic," Hong said.
He added that the Chinese government has noted Japan's recent remarks of hoping to quell dissent as soon as possible and to avoid further destabilization of ties.
"If the Japanese side would match its words with deeds, it should realize that its provoking actions and words are wrong, and maintain the overall situation of bilateral ties with concrete actions," Hong said.
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