BEIJING – China (search) tried Thursday to defuse mounting tensions with Japan (search), saying it is trying to rein in extremism following violent protests over new Japanese history textbooks and Tokyo's bid for a permanent U.N. Security Council (search) seat.
"China is trying to cool down the people and appealed (to) them to avoid extreme activities," the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing comments by a Chinese diplomat in a meeting with envoys from Japan and South Korea.
Cui Tiankai, director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Asian bureau, made the comments during a meeting aimed at settling "heated disputes" among the three neighbors, Xinhua said.
Protesters last weekend threw stones and broke windows at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. Chinese-Japanese relations have plunged in a dispute over new Japanese textbooks that critics say downplay Tokyo's wartime aggression and rivalry over resources and regional influence.
Cui urged Tokyo to "properly handle historical issues to contribute to the improvement of their relations," Xinhua said.
He was joined at the meeting by his counterparts Sasae Kenichiro of Japan and Park Joon-woo of South Korea.
Cui said the three countries had "common responsibilities ... not only to our own people, but also to Asia as a whole," according to Xinhua.
"This responsibility requires us to develop a stable and friendly bilateral and trilateral relation."