China's top political adviser Jia Qinglin met members of the Association for the Promotion of International Trade Wednesday.
Jia reiterated China's position on the Diaoyu Islands, and said Japan's actions had "pushed China-Japan relations to an unprecedented grim phase."
Japan's erroneous action has seriously infringed on China's sovereignty, touched on the historical pain endured by the Chinese people and aroused their strong indignation and firm opposition, Jia said.
"Japan should realize the seriousness of the current situation, squarely face the disputes over the Diaoyu Islands and correct its mistake as soon as possible, so as to avoid further damaging China-Japan ties," Jia said.
Yohei Kono, a former Japanese Speaker of the House of Representatives and president of the Association for the Promotion of International Trade, referred to the strife when he told Jia he had come to Beijing "this time with a heavy heart."
Jia called on all Japanese people to work with the Chinese side to return China-Japan ties to the track of sound development.
"I hope Japanese people from all walks of life will take the general situation of bilateral ties into consideration, overcome current difficulties and work with the Chinese side to put the ties back on a track of sound development," said Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Still frost-beaten bilateral ties
China yesterday called Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda obstinate and wrong for saying Japan won't compromise in the Diaoyu Islands dispute, as Japanese lawmakers and business leaders visited Beijing with hopes of mending ties.
Relations between the two countries are at their lowest in years after Japan "purchased" the islands from a so-called private owner early this month.
Noda said in New York on Wednesday that the islands were an "inherent part of our territory, in light of history and international law."
He told the UN General Assembly that issues should be resolved peacefully according to rule of law.
In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said yesterday: "China is strongly disappointed and sternly opposes the Japanese leader's obstinacy regarding his wrong position."
Qin added: "Japan seriously challenges the postwar international order, but tries to take the rules of international law as a cover. This is self-deceiving."
China scrapped the reception due yesterday to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between the countries.