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14:58 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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China Cancels Events to Mark 40 Years of Japan Ties

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China has canceled events planned to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations with Japan amid an escalating territorial dispute between the two countries, the Japanese media reported on Sunday.

China has canceled events planned to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations with Japan amid an escalating territorial dispute between the two countries, the Japanese media reported on Sunday.

The ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations was scheduled for September 27 but the Chinese side has already informed Japan’s authorities of its cancellation, Jiji Press reported, referring to a source close to the event’s organizers.

China’s official news agency Xinhua cited officials from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the China-Japan Friendship Association as saying the reception to commemorate the event would not be held as planned and would take place “at an appropriate time.”

The relations between the two countries have recently plummeted to their worst level in years over a chain of islands claimed by both countries.

The islands, known as the Senkaku to Japan and Diaoyu to China, have been at the center of a dispute recently that has triggered violent anti-Japanese protests across China and caused Japanese companies to suspend operations in China.

The issue flared up after Japan nationalized three of the five islands last week, which previously belonged to a private owner.

Japan claims it has occupied the islands since 1895, while China maintains the islands were recognized as Chinese as early as 1783.