China's Foreign Ministry slammed Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara on Friday for suggesting that if a giant panda on loan from China gives birth at a Tokyo zoo, the cub should be named after the Senkaku Islands, a cluster of Japan-controlled isles in the East China Sea also claimed by Beijing.
"Ishihara's scheme to undermine China-Japan relations is a clumsy performance. It will only tarnish the image of Japan and Tokyo," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a news conference.
In Tokyo on Thursday, Ishihara said that if a baby panda is born, it should be named "Sen Sen" or "Kaku Kaku," referring to a recent announcement by Ueno Zoo that the female giant panda Shin Shin has shown signs of pregnancy.