Beijing: Even as the official media here charged Japan with attempting to "encircle" China by courting India and neighbouring countries, Beijing on Thursday reacted cautiously to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Tokyo hoping India-Japan ties could be conducive to regional peace.
"We hope that China's neighbouring countries would develop normal state to state relations", Chinese foreign ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei told media briefing here on Thursday while answering a question on Singh's just concluded visit to Japan.
"The development of India-Japan relations could be conducive to regional peace, stability and development", he said in a brief reaction.
His guarded reaction came as an official daily Global Times came out with a fuming editorial over Japan-India maritime security cooperation charging Tokyo of attempting to "encircle China" by forging strategic alliances in the neighbourhood.
"With Singh on his four-day visit to Japan, both sides have discussed maritime security cooperation. A few days ago, when Shonzo Abe, Singh's counterpart, visited Myanmar, it was seen as Japan's attempt to complete a "puzzle game" in order to "encircle China," the daily said in its editorial on Thursday.
"Japan's strategy for China drives its activity around China's neighbours. Japan's prudence and cautiousness prove that China will have a major influence over Japan in the 21st century", the editorial titled 'Diplomatic row due to disoriented Japan', said.
"But Japan's wishful thinking of encircling China is just an illusion. Besides sneaking a few bargains from its competition with China, Japan does not have the strength to prevail over China's influence in Asia", it said.
The allegation of "encirclement of China" is significant as China's attempts to forge close ties in India's neighbourhood were perceived as Beijing's attempt to encircle India.