Thu, October 11, 2012
China > China & World

Tokyo's claim over islands weakened by US report: experts

2012-10-11 06:48:45 GMT2012-10-11 14:48:45(Beijing Time)  Global Times

A Qing dynasty volume with a yellowed title page in bold, black characters from the 1760s about Ryukyuan students sits on display in a glass case at the Imperial College in Beijing on Wednesday. Chinese scholars say that the 18th century book is evidence that the Diaoyu Islands are part of China's territory. Photo: AFP

Chinese analysts said on Wednesday that a recent US Congressional report shows that the US has never recognized Japan's claim of sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.

The Japanese government is already considering plans to calm tensions with China by acknowledging Chinese claims to the Diaoyu Islands, Kyodo News cited a government source as saying on Wednesday.

The US report, published on September 25 by the Congressional Research Service on its website, said the US takes a neutral position with regard to the competing claims of Japan and China over the islands, despite the US decision to return them to Japanese administration in the 1970s.

The US State Department officials asserted that "reversion of administrative rights to Japan did not prejudice any claims to the islands," the report said, referring to the ratification of the Okinawa Reversion Treaty in 1971.

It did not mention that even the so-called return of administration of the islands to Japan ran against principles of the Cairo Declaration of 1943 and the Potsdam Proclamation of 1945.

The Chinese foreign ministry said China noted the US neutral position on the Diaoyu Islands in the report, hoping that the US side could "walk the talk."

The US says that it hoped China and Japan solve the dispute through dialogue. China has been making such efforts, but Japan's actions did not help alleviate tensions as it does not even accept there is a dispute over the islands, Liu Jiangyong, vice president of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.

"Washington's repeated statements that the Diaoyu Islands fall within the scope of the US-Japan security pact have also, in a way, emboldened Japan's hard stance on the issue. So I think if the US really hopes to see a diplomatic solution to the issue, it needs to do more," he added.

Liu stressed that as stated by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, older generation leaders of China and Japan already reached an agreement to shelve such disputes and the priority is for current Japanese leaders and politicians to fully respect and accept that fact.

Kissinger also said at a recent forum that Washington should not take sides on the issue as China and Japan already reached an agreement over the dispute in 1978, according to reports by Japan's Kyodo news agency.

Japan, however, has been insisting there was no such agreement with China on the matter.

"The Japanese leaders and politicians may not have witnessed that period of history, but this does not change the facts. They believe what they are doing serves their best interests, but this will actually hurt Japan's international reputation as well as its overall interests," Liu said, noting that Japan's economic and trade ties with China were already impacted by the islands row.

The IMF confirmed Wednesday that China's central bank governor will not lead the Chinese delegation at the IMF's semi-annual meeting this week in Tokyo.

Earlier, major Japanese carmakers already reported a huge tumble in auto sales in China, which is the world's biggest car market.

When asked about Japan's reported move to consider concession to calm tensions with China over the Diaoyu Islands, The Japanese embassy in Beijing, quoting Japanese foreign minister Koichiro Gemba, told the Global Times that "Japan will discuss what can be done further while maintaining its own position on the issue."

"Even if the report is true, I think it is mainly a tentative measure by Japan to test China's attitude and response on the issue and such statements obviously are not enough to meet China's demands," Huang Dahui, director of East Asian Studies Center of Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

He warned that a prolonged standoff over the issue will hurt the interests of both China and Japan. "But the impact on Japan will be larger considering its domestic conditions."


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