BEIJING, September 21 - Beijing said Tuesday the atmosphere was "not suitable" for a meeting between the premiers of China and Japan on the sidelines of a UN summit in New York, amid a deep rift over an incident at sea.
"Obviously the atmosphere is not suitable for such a meeting," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters, when asked if Premier Wen Jiabao and Japan's Naoto Kan could meet while in the US this week.
China has denounced the arrest of a Chinese trawler captain two weeks ago by Japan's coastguard, summoned Tokyo's ambassador six times, and called off several official visits and planned negotiations.
Jiang again called for the captain's unconditional release on Tuesday.
Japan on Tuesday called on all parties to avoid "extreme nationalism" as they move to resolve the standoff, the worst between Beijing and Tokyo in years.