BEIJING — While Japanese lawmakers and business leaders visited Beijing with hopes of mending ties, China assailed Japan's prime minister as obstinate and wrong for saying his nation won't compromise in their island dispute.
Relations between Japan and China are at their lowest in years because of their spat over the island group in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Japan says it bought the islands this month to thwart Japanese nationalists' more radical plans to develop them.
But China sees the move as wrecking a prior arrangement with Tokyo, and it and many Chinese have responded with outrage.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Wednesday in New York that the islands are clearly an "inherent part of our territory, in light of history and international law."
He said that issues over the islands should be resolved peacefully and by the rule of law.
In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday that "China is strongly disappointed and sternly opposes the Japanese leader's obstinacy regarding his wrong position."
His statement repeated China's stance that Japan was ignoring historical facts and international laws.
"The country seriously challenges the postwar international order, but tries to take the rules of international law as a cover. This is self-deceiving," Mr. Qin said in a separate statement.
Myanmar praises U.S.for easing ban on imports
YANGON — Washington's decision to ease a ban on imports from Myanmar won praise Thursday in the emerging Southeast Asian democracy, with a government official giving credit to both the country's reformist president and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Wednesday that the Obama administration will ease import restrictions implemented against Myanmar's previous repressive military regime.
She met Wednesday with President Thein Sein on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
"The president has consistently called for the lifting of U.S. sanctions and [democracy icon] Aung San Suu Kyi has also called for lifting sanctions in her speeches," Maj. Zaw Htay, director of the president's office, told the Associated Press. "This is a very positive move and also a valuable outcome of the president's U.S. trip."
Religious radicals sought in killings of 12 in park
MOSCOW — Police in Kazakhstan say they are seeking two members of a radical religious group for last month's slayings of 12 people at a national park near the commercial capital, Almaty.
The burned bodies of the victims, including a park ranger known for his fight against poaching, were found in the Ile-Alatau national park in late August.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement Thursday the two suspects also may be involved with an explosion in which seven people died at a house on the outskirts of Almaty in July.
Kazakhstan, a sprawling mainly Muslim former Soviet nation west of China, saw a surge last year in terrorist activity apparently linked to Islamist extremism. Several attacks have been reported over the summer after a largely quiet first half of the year.
Red Bull family reaches hit-and-run settlement
BANGKOK — The billionaire family of a Red Bull energy drink heir accused of killing a police officer in a hit-and-run accident paid the officer's siblings about $100,000 in a deal aimed at avoiding a civil lawsuit, police said Wednesday.
Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, is charged with driving a Ferrari that struck the officer and dragged his body down a Bangkok street earlier this month.
The Yoovidhya family paid the officer's siblings $97,000 last week, police Lt. Col. Viradon Thubthimdee said. He said the settlement will protect Mr. Vorayuth from a civil lawsuit.
The payment, however, does not protect Mr. Vorayuth from criminal charges of causing death by reckless driving and fleeing to avoid arrest. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $666.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports