BEIJING (Reuters) - China urged Japan on Wednesday to immediately and unconditionally release 14 Chinese nationals held over a protest landing on disputed islands that have long been a source of tension between the two big Asian powers.
In discussions with Japanese officials, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying “demanded that Japan ensure the safety of 14 Chinese nationals and immediately and unconditionally release them”, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on its website.
Fu also “made solemn representations on Japan’s unlawful detention of Chinese nationals on the Diaoyu Islands”, the ministry website said, referring to the islands known as Senkaku in Japan.
Japan arrested five members of a group of activists from China, Hong Kong and Macau who landed on the island chain and nine other activists were detained on their boat, Japan’s coastguard said earlier.
Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Louise Ireland