(BEIJING) -- Tensions continue to escalate between China and Japan over Japan's detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain. As previously reported, the boating collision on Sept. 7 has already marred the relationship between both countries.
On Thursday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao issued a stern warning, stating, "If Japan clings to its course, China will take further action. Tokyo bears all responsibility for the situation and it will bear all consequences." Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshito Songoku, appealed for a calm dialogue. "We hope Japan and China will hold high-level talks as soon as possible to ease the diplomatic row," he told a press conference.
But there are now concerns that China is escalating the war of words, taking aim at Japan's economy. According to a report in the New York Times Thursday, China is halting shipments of rare-earth minerals to Japan. These vital minerals are used by Japan in high-tech products like hybrid cars and wind turbines. China has denied any official trade embargo, but the mere hint of a halt in exports is likely to raise fears in Japan.
One Chinese company already announced it would a cancel a long-prepared trip of some 10,000 staff members to Japan in October in order "to stand on national dignity." The cancellation was expected to bring a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tourism between the two countries has also been affected, and in China millions have taken to the Internet calling for a boycott of Japanese goods.
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