By Mei Jingya, Sina English
Amid heightened strain between Japan and China over the Diaoyu Islands, the United States marines and Japan Self-Defense Force personnel will kick off a 37-day joint landing drill starting today, only adding more fuel to the flame.
An official of Japan’s Defense Ministry was quoted by the Sankei Shimbun as saying, “the U.S. and Japan conduct the drill aimed at retaking Diaoyu Islands in case they are invaded by Chinese military forces.”
Then, will the Diaoyu Islands disputes spark a military confrontation between the two Asian neighbors?
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said on Monday that "The Japan-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral ties for Japan."
Fujimura’s remarks, viewed in the context of Japan’s joint drill with Japan, paled into insignificance. And apparently, Japan is not really seeking peace with China ‘whole-heartedly’.
On the same day, Tokyo government’s request for Diaoyu landing was left pending by the central government due to “flaws in the application”. Soon afterwards, the Tokyo metropolitan government said it plans to file a formal request again, with the landing date set around late August or early September.
Reporting on Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura’s Tokyo press conference on Monday, BBC said an overwhelmed Fujimura was pestered by reporters with questions surrounding the Diaoyu Islands one after another.
On Monday, presses all over the world were reporting Chinese citizens’ anti-Japan protests in major cities, venting their anger at 10 Japanese rightwingers’ landing on Diaoyu Islands.
Kazuhiko Togo, former head of the Treaties Bureau of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, said in his interview with The Asahi Shimbun Monday that “Japan has to listen to the opinions of China. If Japan takes a hardline stance while rejecting talks, the Chinese military will appear around the Senkaku Islands (Chinese Diaoyu Islands) someday.”
Japanese authorities yesterday questioned the 10 Japanese, including Tokyo city assembly members, who swam ashore on one of the Diaoyu Islands on Sunday, an act that prompted demonstrations in 10 Chinese cities. Full story