China and Japan are engaged in a war of words over which country is to blame for anti-Japanese demonstrations in China. The dispute has prompted strong words from the prime ministers of both countries.
China brushed off Japan's call for a quick apology for two days of anti-Japanese protests and damage to Japanese diplomatic missions.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang noted Tokyo's demand, but said Japan was to blame for the situation. Mr. Qin says Japan needs to reflect on history, because the animosity in the current relationship is rooted in Japanese actions.
In Tokyo, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi quickly fired back. Mr. Koizumi says China's comments are wrong, and Beijing has the responsibility to protect Japanese people in China.
Anti-Japanese protests in Beijing and two southern Chinese cities Saturday and Sunday led to damage to the Japanese embassy. Three Japanese students were beaten in Shanghai.
The violence has been triggered by a number of factors, including Japan's quest for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat, the revision of textbooks seen as glossing over Japan's brutal wartime occupation of China, and a lingering territorial dispute between the two countries.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, speaking during a visit to New Delhi, indicated he would not support Japan's bid for the Security Council seat. He said Japan must take responsibility for its colonial and wartime legacy in Asia before it can be granted "greater responsibilities in the international community."
Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura is scheduled to discuss the dispute this Sunday in Beijing with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.
Japanese officials say they are eager to make certain that further demonstrations, which they have heard are being planned, will be blocked by the Chinese authorities before Mr. Machimura's arrival.
Japanese Trade Minister Shoichi Nakagawa also weighed in on the debate. He said he considers China a "scary country" in the wake of its apparent reluctance to stop the protests. Mr. Nakagawa said he is worried about the impact on Japanese companies in China, and that Japan's top trading partner should change its behavior.