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Officials suspend exchanges with Japan

BEIJING | China said Sunday that it had suspended senior bilateral exchanges with Japan over an incident in disputed waters and warned that relations with Tokyo had been “severely hurt.”

The announcement was made after a Japanese court authorized prosecutors to extend by 10 days the detention of a Chinese captain accused of ramming his trawler against Japanese patrol boats in the East China Sea.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his counterpart, Naoto Kan, were preparing to fly to New York to attend a U.N. gathering, where they will meet with President Obama in separate talks.

According to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, China also has halted contact with Japan on increasing civilian flights between the two countries and a meeting on coal has been postponed.

Japanese authorities arrested Zhan Qixiong, the Chinese captain, on Sept. 8, but have released his crew and boat. Mr. Zhan’s initial detention on suspicion of obstructing official duties had been set to end Sunday.

Xinhua reported that Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya made “solemn representations” to Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa on Sunday evening over Mr. Zhan’s extended detention.

“The incident created by the Japanese side has severely damaged China-Japan relations,” Mr. Wang was quoted as saying. “Japan shall bear all the consequences that arise.”


Russia-Syria arms deal to proceed

JERUSALEM | Israel’s prime minister said Sunday that he failed to block Russian plans to sell Syria anti-ship cruise missiles that his country fears could fall into the hands of Hezbollah guerrillas.

Syria is a key backer of the Lebanese Hezbollah, which has used Russian-made weapons against Israel in the past. Russian anti-tank missiles were among the militant group’s most effective weapons during its month-long war with Israel in 2006.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the deal to sell Syria P-800 missiles would be “very problematic” for the Jewish state.

“We have been aware of this deal for some time, and there were discussions with the Russians at every level,” Mr. Netanyahu told a closed meeting of Cabinet ministers from his Likud Party. His comments were confirmed by a meeting participant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed.

A string of Israeli leaders raised concerns about the deal, most recently Defense Minister Ehud Barak during a trip to Moscow this month. Israeli defense officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing a sensitive diplomatic matter, said Mr. Barak was told the sale would be completed.

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