Mon, September 24, 2012
China > China & World > Focus on China's Neighborhood

Diaoyu Islands heckling Tokyo's China policy

2012-07-05 01:49:22 GMT2012-07-05 09:49:22(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

By Li Hongmei, Special to Sina English

Coastguard vessels from Taiwan and Japan 'bumped into' each other in waters near the Diaoyu Islands on Wednesday, as the Taiwanese vessel was escorting a small flotilla of patrol ships that had been accompanying a fishing boat carrying the activists to waters near the Diaoyus.

According to Japanese 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, nine Taiwan activists were aboard the fishing boat. One of the patrol ships carried a Japanese-language banner reading: 'This is territory of China,' a Japanese coastguard official said.

The five Taiwanese vessels entered the waters shortly after 7am and left the area by noon on Wednesday, the official said.

Again, a new roar centered round the Diaoyu Islands has been set up on the heels of a few Japanese hard line conservative politicians’ outrageous remarks and Tokyo Governor’s absurd islands purchase plan.

Dispute over Diaoyu Islands, or Senkaku by the Japanese, has been poisoning China-Japan relations for almost four decades. The issue looms large this year, against the backdrop that Japan is grilled by both domestic problems, such as dim economic prospect and declining popular trust in the government, and the mounting international pressure, mostly from its Western allies, to play tough in the region and side with the West.

Diaoyu Islands issue is part of the diplomatic tussles Tokyo would like to launch to shift the public eyes from its troubled administration to the territorial dispute. And what’s more intriguing is when the rival was a poor giant, but turns out to be a strong competitor today.

Back in 1978, then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping successfully pushed the two countries to agree to "shelve bilateral disputes and seek common development" on the Diaoyu Islands issue. The two countries abided by the consensus for years.

But since the 1990s, the Japanese government has been insisting that there is no dispute.

The United States had played a disruptive role by creating the dispute between China and Japan over Diaoyu Islands.

When the US returned the occupied Okinawa to Japan in 1972, it also transferred the administrative jurisdiction rights of the Diaoyu Islands, which actually belong to China. According to international law, administrative jurisdiction and sovereignty are two entirely different concepts.

Moreover, such jurisdiction transfer is illegal, for it deals with the territory of a third party. So Japan can never have sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.

Since Japan has been continually strengthening its control over the Diaoyu Islands, it seems not enough for China to only send patrol boats to the islands.

China definitely wants to maintain stable cooperation with Japan. But considering Japan's constant and more provocative actions and the effect of China's countermeasures, Beijing should think of employing another strategy. Of course, the strategy should be based on certain diplomatic principles.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations, which is a momentum for the bilateral ties to go up. But, it is also a sensitive timing that the relationship could go sour if badly dealt with.

on Tuesday, Japanese politicians and prominent academics from China and Japan, while attending a forum in Tokyo to enhance the communication between the two nations, urged the Japanese government to abandon its outdated foreign policy of leaning on the West and accept China as a key partner as important as the United States.

Koichi Kato, a member of the Japanese House of Representatives, told the forum that it is time for Japan to distance itself from the theory of being separate from Asia.

It is a good reasoning, as any positive move will be definitely echoed by the same.

Related:

Taiwan vessel sails for Diaoyu Islands: report

A fishing boat carrying nine Taiwanese activists sailed near the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea and entered 'Japanese waters' Wednesday morning, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported today, citing Japan Coast Guard officials.

China vows to safeguard islands' sovereignty

Beijing on Wednesday urged Tokyo not to take any action that could endanger Chinese lives or property, including those of Taiwan compatriots.

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