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China's government appealed to the public Wednesday to end fierce protests over Japan's handling of its wartime history and its campaign for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat.

In comments reported Wednesday by state television and newspapers, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing appealed for calm and said the public should not take part in unauthorized demonstrations.

"Express yourselves calmly, rationally and in an orderly fashion," Li was quoted as saying. "Do not participate in unapproved marches and other activities and do not do anything that will affect social stability."

Anti-Japanese demonstrations have erupted in several Chinese cities over a textbook approved by Japan that critics say whitewashes the country's past militarism. The protesters also oppose Tokyo's Security Council bid.

Meanwhile, Japan's foreign minister said today he believes the leaders of Japan and China will meet on the sidelines of a conference in Indonesia to defuse the diplomatic row. But China said it was still considering whether to attend.

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