18 April 2005

China refused to apologise for anti-Japanese protests yesterday, its foreign minister Li Zhaoxing telling his Japanese counterpart: "The Chinese government has never done anything for which it has to apologise to the Japanese people.""

The Japanese foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, had flown to Beijing hoping to improve mutual relations, which have fallen to their lowest point for 33 years because of a territorial dispute, Chinese boycotts of Japanese products and Tokyo's approval of a new history textbook which ignores Japan's wartime atrocities in China.