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China pledges to defend territory after Japan island reports

Published on Sep 5, 2012 4:42 PM
This file photo taken on Aug 19, 2012 shows a Japanese activist waving the country's flag after landing on a group of islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - China pledged on Wednesday to take "necessary measures" to defend its territory after Japanese media said Tokyo had agreed to buy a contested group of islands.

Japan's government will pay private Japanese landowners 2.05 billion yen (S$32 million) for three of the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, the reports said, citing unnamed government sources.

"We cannot help but ask where is Japan trying to lead China and Japan relations to," said foreign ministry spokesman Mr Hong Lei in response to a question about the reports. "The Chinese government is monitoring developments closely and will take necessary measures to defend its national territorial sovereignty."

The chain, which lies on vital shipping lanes, is believed to sit on top of potentially rich gas fields.

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