Japanese behaviour in suicide case 'vile', says China
By Peter Goff in Beijing
China yesterday denounced the "vile behaviour" of the Tokyo government in alleging that a Japanese diplomat based in Shanghai committed suicide after he was blackmailed by a Chinese agent demanding state secrets.
In the latest bitter dispute between the Far Eastern powers, Japanese media reports said the diplomat, who was in charge of encryption of classified material, left suicide notes saying he had been blackmailed by Beijing over his relationship with a hostess at a karaoke bar.
The diplomat, who was 46, reportedly hanged himself in the Japanese consulate in May last year, saying in a note that he would rather die than betray his country.
The reports said that Chinese agents had pressurised the diplomat into leaking a report and divulging Japan's encryption systems.
The Japanese foreign ministry said on Wednesday that it had lodged several "strong official protests" to Beijing, saying that behind the death lay "regrettable" actions that were in breach of international conventions. It asked China to clarify the facts but had yet to receive a response.
Yesterday, Beijing retaliated, with Qin Gang, a foreign ministry spokesman, calling the allegations groundless. "We express our strong indignation at the vile behaviour of the Japanese government which deliberately smears China's image."
He said the investigation into the case had long been concluded, and he accused Japan of raising the man's death now in an effort to portray China in a poor light.
"After one and a half years the Japanese are making an issue of this old case and is even linking the suicide case with Chinese officials. This is showing ulterior motives."
The case is a further strain on tense relations. Beijing repeatedly protests about Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni shrine commemorating Japan's war dead, including officers guilty of war crimes in China.
The countries are also bitterly divided by a territorial dispute over resource-rich islands in the East China Sea.
This week they were at loggerheads again when Japan's new foreign minister, Taro Aso, said China's military build-up posed a "considerable threat".
Beijing called his comments "completely irresponsible" .
The Chinese would never do this.
I beleive that you are closest to war when the Chinese say that it is 'irresponsible' to express your concern over their aggression. Pointing to their perfidy means they must respond, or lose face by not responding, either choice makes them look bad.
Less than 4 years before widespread armed conflict in Asia.
ETA: The crap about the Chinese getting pissed about Koizumi visiting the shrine to the war dead? How freakin' lame. Do they want him to ignore his own dead soldiers, even the ones who committed crimes? Is that how to be a patriot? I bloody well doubt it.
The Chinese are duplicitous and we need to draw back from them.
IMO more like 10-15 years... but it is coming.