Japan to attend Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

Japan's ambassador in Norway will attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the embassy said Wednesday, which risks rekindling tensions between Tokyo and Beijing.

China has said the selection of Liu for the award is an interference in its internal affairs and has pressured other countries not to go, including Japan.

Tokyo's decision to send its ambassador to the ceremony could cause further tensions between the two Asian powers. Relations have soured since a Chinese fishing boat collided with Japan patrol ships near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The Japanese ambassador in Oslo will attend the Dec. 10 awards despite the request to skip it from China, embassy spokeswoman Mio Otashiro said.

Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion after co-authoring an appeal calling for reforms to China's one-party political system. He was a student leader at the demonstrations at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The decision to give him this year's award has also caused a diplomatic rift between China and Norway, though the Norwegian government is not involved in the selection of the winner.

Earlier this month France's foreign ministry said its ambassador would attend the event, and other European governments appeared to be leaning toward attending despite the pressure from China.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects spelling of Liu Xiaobo in first paragraph)