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Originally published Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 3:35 AM

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China blasts Japan ahead of legislative session

China has issued another scathing attack on Japan over an islands dispute, just days ahead of the opening of the Chinese national legislature's annual session.

The Associated Press

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BEIJING —

China has issued another scathing attack on Japan over an islands dispute, just days ahead of the opening of the Chinese national legislature's annual session.

The spokesman for the legislature's chief advisory body, Lu Xinhua, told reporters at a Saturday news conference that if any unintended clash occurred as a result of their patrol boats and planes operating close to one another, Japan would "be held solely responsible for all consequences."

The longstanding dispute between China and Japan over the islands flared anew after Japan purchased three of the five in the group from their private owners in September. Beijing says the islands have been Chinese for centuries, but Japan refuses to acknowledge counterclaims.

Chinese ships have repeatedly crossed into Japanese waters around the islands and confronted Japanese coast guard ships.

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