Chinese ships sail in disputed waters after Japan warning ” fears grow over a potential military clash “

→National Aug. 07, 2014 – 06:30AM JST ( 25 )

TOKYO —

Chinese coast guard ships sailed into waters off Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea on Wednesday, officials said, after Tokyo’s annual defense paper warned over China’s “dangerous acts” near the disputed archipelago.

The report, published Tuesday, said frequent appearances by Chinese ships in the area could lead to “unintended consequences”, as fears grow over a potential military clash between the Asian powers.

English: Aerial Photo of Kitakojima and Minami...
English: Aerial Photo of Kitakojima and Minamikojima of Senkaku Islands, Ishigaki City, Okinawa, Japan, 1978. 日本語: 北小島・南小島(尖閣諸島):沖縄県石垣市、東シナ海 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three Chinese vessels sailed into territorial waters that extend 12 nautical miles around one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus, the Japanese coast guard said.

The ships entered the area around 10 a.m. and left about two hours later, it said.

Continue reading “Chinese ships sail in disputed waters after Japan warning ” fears grow over a potential military clash “”

Japan could anger China by putting government workers on isles

A Japan Coast Guard boat (front) and vessel sail as Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, is pictured in the background, in the East China Sea August 18, 2013. REUTERS/Ruairidh Villar

A Japan Coast Guard boat (front) and vessel sail as Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, is pictured in the background, in the East China Sea August 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ruairidh Villar

TOKYO |          Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:34am BST

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan might station government workers on disputed islands in the East China Sea to defend its sovereignty, the top government spokesman said on Tuesday, raising the possibility of action that would inevitably anger China.

Relations between Asia’s second- and third-biggest economies have been strained over the uninhabited isles which Japan controls but both countries claim. The isles are known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

A year ago on Wednesday, the Japanese government bought three of the isles from a private owner, inflaming anger in China where there were big anti-Japan protests over the purchase.

Aircraft and ships from the two countries have played cat-and mouse in the vicinity of the islands ever since, raising fears that an accidental encounter could spark conflict.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, speaking on the eve of the sensitive anniversary, said it was “extremely regrettable” that Chinese government ships had repeatedly entered what he described as Japan’s territorial waters.

The Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was making “resolute but calm responses to defend our territory, territorial waters and airspace decisively”, he said.

“Our country will never make a concession on the matter of sovereignty,” he said.

Asked if Japan might station government workers on the islands, Suga said: “That is one option”.

In the latest incident off the islands, seven Chinese patrol ships entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near them on Tuesday, Japan’s coastguard said.

On Monday, Japan scrambled fighter jets when it spotted what appeared to be an unmanned drone aircraft flying toward Japan over the East China Sea.

It was not clear what country the unidentified aircraft belonged to but Japan’s Foreign Ministry had made an inquiry about it with the Chinese side, Suga said.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Monday that Japan would be on guard for the first anniversary of Japan’s purchase of the islands.

“September 11 was the day when the flare-up of tension between Japan and China was triggered. I think a firm posture is being called for,” Onodera said.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Robert Birsel)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/09/10/uk-japan-china-idUKBRE98906O20130910?rpc=401&feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&rpc=401

Japan moves to safeguard border islands

 

 

Construction of port facilities is under way at Okinotorishima island in Ogasawara village, Tokyo.

News Desk

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Publication Date : 05-08-2013

These remote islands serve as points for defining territorial waters and exclusive economic zones

With repeated incursions by Chinese government ships into Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, local and national authorities in Japan are intensifying efforts to safeguard remote islands, which serve as points for defining territorial waters and exclusive economic zones.

The nation’s southernmost island, Okinotorishima in Tokyo’s Ogasawara village, is one such example.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has begun constructing a port facility there for various purposes, including the development of maritime resources.

Another example is a group of remote islets off the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, which is located near prime fishing grounds. There are growing calls among local residents to rename them. Because the isles currently bear names that include “iwa” (rock), the locals are concerned that such names could be misleading to other nations.

There are 6,847 remote islands in the country, according to the ministry and others. More than 90 of the islands are uninhabited. In many cases, the owners or management status are unknown.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that “…rocks which could not sustain human habitation or economic life of their own would have no economic zone or continental shelf.”

The government has decided to safeguard about 400 remote islands around the country.

Wharf under construction

Okinotorishima is an oval-shaped territory located about 1,700 kilometres south of central Tokyo. Under a land ministry construction project, a pier about 160 metres long will be built in its western region along with a portside road to allow access to the island’s interior.

Work began in April with the building of a cargo loading area to serve as a temporary holding space for cargo unloaded from ships. Due to severe seasonal weather such as typhoons and seasonal winds, the period for construction work is restricted to spring and summer. About 100 construction workers have been working on the project. The entire port facility is expected to be completed in three years, according to the ministry.

The territory, which measures about 11 kilometres in circumference, comprises two small islets that are not submerged at high tide. Their combined area is about nine square metres. Their concrete encasings, designed to prevent erosion from waves, require annual maintenance. Because large ships cannot approach the island, construction materials are loaded onto small boats on the ocean. After the wharf is completed, a 130-metre-class vessel can enter a port about eight metres deep.

The total project cost is about 75 billion yen. According to one estimate, about 116 billion yen in profits will be generated if cobalt and nickel desposits believed to exist on the seafloor near the island are successfully exploited.

China has claimed that Okinotorishima is an area consisting of rocks. A senior Japanese ministry official said: “After a port is constructed, it will serve as a hub for research vessels. If economic activity based on resource development picks up, it will become clearer that it is an ‘island.’”

‘Rocks’ a misnomer

Due to its abundance of prime fishing spots, the waters around the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture have attracted foreign fishing boats, including those from China. Hizen Torishima is located about 61 kilometres southeast from Fukuejima island, which is at the centre of the city of Goto. It consists of three uninhibited islets–Minamiiwa, Iwasenakaiwa and Kitaiwa. Locals have been strongly hoping the names of the islets will be changed.

Because all the islet names contain the word “rock”, some are concerned that it may invite a misunderstanding in the international community amid heightened tensions between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands.

A local association comprising representatives of the business community and other organisations has been seeking to preserve and develop the islets. It asked the Goto municipal government to change their names. The Nagasaki prefectural government also announced that it will work together with the central government to help the city to facilitate the name changes. The city will ask its residents to consider new names for the islets. It plans to file a name change application with the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan as early as autumn.

Prefectural assembly member Hiroshi Yamada, an adviser to the association, said, “By changing their names, each of the islands will be recognized as an ‘island at the national border,’ not only by the Japanese people but also the international community.”

 

http://www.asianewsnet.net/Japan-moves-to-safeguard-border-islands-49870.html

Japan to deploy ships after China detected drilling in disputed waters – report

Published time: July 18, 2013 16:50                                                                            

An aerial view shows a Chinese facility under construction (top R) for natural gas exploration and a large crane ship are seen near what Tokyo claims to be the median line between the overlapping exclusive economic zones of Japan and China, in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 5, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)An aerial view shows a Chinese facility under construction (top R) for natural gas exploration and a large crane ship are seen near what Tokyo claims to be the median line between the overlapping exclusive economic zones of Japan and China, in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 5, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)

Japan has allegedly ordered geological survey ships to prepare for possible deployment after the Chinese were reportedly detected drilling in Japanese waters near the disputed area of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, a source told Reuters.

The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) has  been ordered to put both its survey ships , the Shigen and the  Hakurei, on standby and to prepare to deploy without any foreign  members of staff on board, according to the source .

Japan warned China not to expand gas exploration in the East  China Sea on Thursday, following a media report according to  which Chinese state-run oil companies plan to develop seven new  gas fields in the sea, possibly siphoning gas from the seabed  beneath waters claimed by Japan, Kyodo news agency reported.

“We will never accept development of gas fields in the area  over which there are conflicting claims in a unilateral  manner,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a  press conference. Though he added that officials are still  gathering information to confirm the report.

After in 1968 it was discovered that oil reserves might be found  under the sea near the territory of the islands in the East China  Sea, sovereignty over them has been long disputed by  Japan  and China.

Meanwhile, three Chinese maritime vessels were spotted entering  Japan’s territorial waters on Thursday morning, the Japanese  Coast Guard reported. Beijing said was a routine surveillance and  the ships later left the Japanese waters, but remain in the  contiguous area, the coast guard added.

This particular intrusion came the day after Prime Minister  Shinzo Abe paid a visit to Japan’s southern island of Ishigaki,  only 160 km away from the islets claimed by both China and Japan.

A Japan Coast Guard patrol ship sails around Uotsuri island, part of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku isles in Japan, Diaoyu islands in China (Reuters/Kyodo)A Japan Coast Guard patrol ship sails around Uotsuri island, part of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku isles in Japan, Diaoyu islands in China (Reuters/Kyodo)

 

During the visit, the Prime Minister repeated Tokyo’s stand that  the nearby disputed Senkaku Islands are Japanese  territory.  He added that Japan will not back off on  the issue of their sovereignty over the territory which China  calls the Diaoyu Islands claiming they were“stolen” from  the country at the end of the Sino-Japanese war in 1895.

It is rare for a prime minister to visit Ishigaki, and “it is  a strong message for China”, Japan’s Asahi Television said.

Abe’s statement followed a strong reaction in the Chinese media  which accused the Japanese Prime Minister on Thursday of  dangerous politics in the period of heightened relations between  the two countries.

The People’s Liberation Army Daily said Abe was trying to play  the “China threat” angle, to win votes in July 21 upper  house of parliament elections by paying the visit to the island.

“This kind of ‘drinking poison to slake ones thirst’ not only  threatens regional stability, it gives encouragement to Japan’s  ‘turn to the right’,” said the Daily.

The ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily warned that  China would never allow itself to be trampled on again, referring  to the 1931 Japan invasion and the establishment of a  Manchukuo  puppet state located in what is now  northeast China.

The newspaper claimed that the prime minister is “provoking  incidents” aimed to create tension to “push Japan’s  military development.”

Surveillance ships from both nations routinely monitor the  disputed area. The last time that Chinese ships were spotted  there was July 7.

In response to the island dispute and the growing nuclear threat  from the Korean Peninsula, Tokyo has raised its defense budget  for the first time in 11 years. Moreover, Abe wants to revise  Japan’s constitution drafted by the United States after World War  Two to allow for collective military action. If the Prime  Minister’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) obtains the majority of  votes it will be a step closer to pushing through the amendment.

http://rt.com/news/japan-china-disputed-islands-271/

 

Japan mulls nationalising unclaimed islands

National Jul. 16, 2013 – 06:52AM JST ( 32 )

Japan mulls nationalising unclaimed islands
A Taiwan fishing boat is blocked by the Japan Coast Guard near the disputed Diaoyu / Senkaku islands, September 2012AFP

TOKYO  —

Japan may nationalise any unclaimed remote islands in its waters in a bid to bolster its territorial claims, a newspaper said Monday amid a dispute with China over one set.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is to establish a task force to research owners and names of some 400 remote islands, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

If their ownership is unclear, the government will give official names to the islands and nationalise them, the mass-circulation daily reported.

“Japan plans to end the  research next year and quickly take action, including nationalisation, to remote islands with no ownership,” the daily said.

The 400 islands are scattered across waters surrounding the Japanese archipelago.

The task force will comprise officials from the finance and justice ministries as well as the coast guard.

The move is part of Japan’s efforts to preserve maritime resources as the country faces ongoing territorial disputes with its neighbors, the newspaper added.

In 2012, ahead of the planned project, Japan announced plans to give names to some 40 other islands, including some near those at the center of a dispute with China, in an effort to verify the extent of the nation’s exclusive economic zone.

Tensions have steadily risen between China and Japan, which accuses its powerful neighbor of sending an increasing number of ships to exert its claim over sparsely populated islands managed by Tokyo in the East China Sea.

The territorial row over the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, was reignited last September when Tokyo nationalised three islands in the chain in what it said was a mere administrative change of ownership.

Beijing has also disputed Tokyo’s claim to Okinotorishima, which lies 1,700 kilometers south of Tokyo, saying the wave-swept atoll cannot be regarded as an island under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

© 2013 AFP

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japan-mulls-nationalising-unclaimed-islands

 

China, Japan tense over disputed islands : Eight Chinese government ships had entered waters near the contested islands

CNN — Apr 24

 

The fragile relationship between China and Japan came under fresh strain Tuesday as ships from both sides crowded into the waters around a disputed group of islands and nearly 170 Japanese lawmakers visited a controversial war memorial.

 

The Japanese Coast Guard said eight Chinese government ships had entered waters near the contested islands in the East China Sea on Tuesday morning, the largest number to do so at any one time since tensions surrounding the territorial dispute escalated last year.China said its ships were there to monitor the movements of Japanese vessels in the area after a Japanese nationalist group chartered a flotilla of fishing boats to take dozens of activists there.

The Japanese foreign ministry responded by summoning the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo to lodge a strong protest about the Chinese ships’ presence near the uninhabited islands that lie between Okinawa and Taiwan and are known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

A day earlier, Beijing had made its own protest to Tokyo about a visit at the weekend by three Japanese cabinet ministers to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors Japanese people killed while fighting for their country, including convicted war criminals.

Countries that suffered heavily at the hands of the Japanese military before and during World War II, such as China and South Korea, consider the shrine as an emblem of that aggressive period in Japanese history.

Tensions rise over Asian islands Why is Japan feuding over islands? Japan scrambles fighter jets But China’s representations failed to deter 168 Japanese members of parliament from visiting the shrine on Tuesday to pay their respects to the war dead, the most to do so in recent years.

去年9月の国有化以来、最も多い8隻が領海侵犯をしています。

Chinese ships track Japanese nationalist flotilla

canberratimes.com.au — Apr 23

 

Eight Chinese government ships have entered Japanese territorial waters near disputed islands, the most in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the archipelago, the Japanese government says.

 

A flotilla of boats carrying more than 80 Japanese nationalists had arrived in waters near the islands on Tuesday, risking further straining Tokyo’s already tense relations with its Asian neighbours. Japan’s coastguard confirmed the Chinese vessels had entered waters near the East China Sea island chain.The maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the Senkaku chain of islands, which China calls the Diaoyu, about 8am (9am AEST), the Japan Coast Guard said in a statement.

News source: canberratimes.com.au

Abe vows to expel by force any Chinese landing on disputed isles

National Apr. 23, 2013 – 01:20PM JST ( 3 )

Abe vows to expel by force any Chinese landing on disputed isles
A Chinese marine surveillance ship cruises near the disputed islets in the East China Sea.;AFP

TOKYO   —

Prime minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday vowed to “expel by force” any Chinese landing on disputed islands.

“We would take decisive action against any attempt to enter territorial waters and to land” on the islands, Abe told parliament in response to questions from lawmakers. “It would be natural for us to expel by force the Chinese if they were to make a landing.”

Abe made the remarks after eight Chinese government ships entered Japanese territorial waters near the islands on Tuesday, the most in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the archipelago, the Japanese government said.

Japan’s coast guard confirmed the vessels had entered waters near the East China Sea island chain, while the government’s top spokesman said the flotilla was a one-day record since Tokyo’s nationalisation in September.

Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador in protest.

The maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the Senkaku chain of islands, which China calls the Diaoyu, around 8 a.m., the Japan Coast Guard said in a statement.

State-owned Chinese ships have frequently spent time around the five disputed islands, also claimed by Taiwan, in recent months.

“It is extremely deplorable and unacceptable that Chinese government ships are repeatedly entering Japanese territorial waters. We have made a firm protest against China both in Beijing and Tokyo,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

© 2013 AFP

Japan scrambles fighter jets after Chinese plane seen near disputed islands

News On Japan via CNN — Dec 14

Japan scrambled fighter jets after a Chinese plane was seen Thursday near small islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by both countries.

This is the first time the dispute over the islands, which Japan calls Senkaku and China refers to as Diaoyu, has involved aircraft.Chinese government ships have repeatedly entered the waters around the remote, rocky islands since the Japanese government announced in September it was buying several of the islands from private owners.Japanese Coast Guard vessels have engaged in games of cat and mouse with the Chinese ships, with both sides broadcasting messages to one another insisting they have territorial sovereignty over the area.

On Thursday morning, a Japanese Coast Guard patrol vessel spotted the Chinese government plane in airspace around the islands, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said.

Japanese Self Defense Force sent four F-15 jets and another aircraft to the area, Fujimura said.

沖縄県の尖閣諸島の上空で中国の国家海洋局所属の航空機が13日午前、領空侵犯していたことが明らかに成りました。

Chinese official says ‘no time limit’ on ships sailing near Senkakus ” “important” for China to “safeguard” China’s claim to the islands”

Monday, Nov. 12, 2012

Kyodo

HONG KONG — The head of China’s Oceanic Administration has said there is “no time limit” on Chinese patrol vessels sailing near the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, a Hong Kong newspaper reported Sunday.

 

The Ming Pao daily, in a report from Beijing, quoted Oceanic Administration Secretary Liu Cigui as saying it is “important” for China to “safeguard” China’s claim to the islands, which are called Diaoyu by China.

Liu, a former official in Fujian Province in China’s southeast, was promoted to the Oceanic Administration early last year, the newspaper said.

He also called Hong Kong activists who have landed on the disputed islands in the past “patriots,” the Ming Pao reported.

Earlier, in Naha, the Japan Coast Guard said Chinese surveillance vessels sailed Sunday in an area just outside Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands, a major source of recent friction between the two countries, for the 23rd straight day since Oct. 20.

Since Wednesday, four Chinese maritime surveillance vessels have been in the contiguous zone near the group of islets in the East China Sea, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.

The coast guard said it warned the Chinese vessels over the radio not to enter Japanese territorial waters. But one of the vessels responded that it was on a regular patrol of areas administrated by China.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121112a3.html

Chinese intruders tell coast guard to get out “leave” the area as it is “in China’s jurisdictional waters” and that the Japanese vessel was “violating the law,”

Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012

Kyodo

NAHA, Okinawa Pref. — Four Chinese surveillance ships entered Japan’s territorial waters Tuesday near the Senkaku Islands and then left the area around 1:10 p.m., the Japan Coast Guard said.

This is the eighth time Chinese government ships have entered the territorial waters in the East China Sea since Japan nationalized three of the five islets Sept. 11.

Two Chinese fishing patrol ships also sailed in an area just outside Japan’s territorial waters around the islets Tuesday for the 11th day in a row and signaled for a Japan Coast Guard cutter to get out, the coast guard said.

The coast guard warned the ships not to enter Japan’s territorial waters, but the four surveillance ships ignored this order. The Japan-controlled islets are claimed by China.

One of the surveillance ships put up a message in Chinese on an electronic board telling a coast guard cutter to “leave” the area as it is “in China’s jurisdictional waters” and that the Japanese vessel was “violating the law,” according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.

Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba reiterated his resolve Monday to calm the row with China over the Senkakus, while maintaining Japan’s position that no territorial dispute officially exists.

“While it may take some time, we must work persistently and tenaciously to calm the situation and stabilize economic, cultural and people exchanges” between the two countries, he told reporters.

Genba said the government will continue to lodge protests with Beijing whenever official Chinese vessels enter Japanese waters near the islets.

Since the government purchased three of the five islets from a Saitama businessman in September, Chinese surveillance ships have repeatedly entered Japanese waters around them.

Japan says the Senkaku Islands, which are called Diaoyu in China, are an inherent part of its territory based on historical fact and in light of international law. Beijing has been seeking to get Tokyo to acknowledge it has a claim to the islets.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121031a4.html

Chinese patrol vessels test ‘authority’ near Senkakus: “replied via radio that the area “is China’s,” “

Friday, Oct. 26, 2012

Kyodo

NAHA, Okinawa Pref. — Chinese surveillance vessels on Thursday entered Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands for the first time in three weeks, the Japan Coast Guard said.

The government lodged a “strong protest” over the intrusion with China through diplomatic channels.

Three Chinese surveillance vessels moved into the waters near Minamikojima, one of the five main islets in the Senkaku group, at around 6:30 a.m., the coast guard said. About an hour later, another surveillance vessel entered the territorial waters, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.

A patrol boat warned the vessels to leave, but one replied via radio that the area “is China’s,” the coast guard said.

It is the first time since Oct. 3 that Chinese surveillance vessels have entered Japan’s territorial waters around the islets, known as Diaoyu in China, which claims them as its territory.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the ships were conducting a “regular patrol for maintaining authority” and a “normal official activity that asserted (China’s) jurisdiction.”

Following the intrusion, the government upgraded the status of the unit in the prime minister’s office dealing with aggressive Chinese maritime activities.

Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai lodged a protest in the morning by telephone with Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua, urging Beijing to immediately withdraw the vessels.

The four surveillance ships had moved close to the Japanese contiguous zone every day since Saturday but did not enter it..

Taiwan-China grab urged

Kyodo

TAIPEI  — Taiwan and China should team up to “reclaim” the Senkaku Islands, a group calling for Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland said during a march Thursday in Taipei.

The march began in front of the Presidential Office and ended at the square of the Interchange Association, Japan’s de facto mission in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties. It was held on the anniversary of the end of Japan’s 50-year colonial rule of Taiwan 67 years ago.

In a petition presented to President Ma Ying-jeou, the group complimented the administration for taking “vigorous” actions to protect the trawling rights of Taiwanese fishermen and asserting maritime sovereignty in the contested waters off the islets, which are called Tiaoyutai in Taiwan and Diaoyu in China.

The group said it fully supports Ma’s stance on the contested islets, referring to a recent comment Ma made that his administration “will not budge an inch” despite sound relations with Japan, and another before he was first elected in 2008 that Taiwan should stop at nothing to protect Taiwanese fishermen’s rights.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121026a3.html

Chinese ships enter waters around disputed islands

News On Japan via Japan Today — Oct 25

Four Chinese government ships entered territorial waters around disputed Tokyo-controlled islands early Thursday, the Japan Coast Guard said.

Three maritime surveillance vessels entered the 12-nautical-mile zone around one of the islands in the East China Sea shortly after 6:30 a.m., the coast guard said in a statement. Another surveillance ship joined them one hour later.The four Chinese vessels were off Minamikojima, one of the islands in a chain known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.Separately, two fisheries patrol ships were spotted in so-called contiguous waters, which extend a further 12 nautical miles, of another island in the chain, the coast guard said.

Chinese ships spotted off disputed islands: prodding Japanese patrol boats to chase them

NationalOct. 21, 2012 – 06:00AM JST( 0 )

TOKYO  —

Five Chinese government ships were seen sailing close to Tokyo-controlled islands in the East China Sea Saturday, prodding Japanese patrol boats to chase them away from the disputed chain.

It was the first time in 10 days that state-owned Chinese ships were spotted near the islands as bad weather had prevailed due to a powerful typhoon passing through.

Japan’s coast guard said its patrol boats were warning the Chinese vessels “not to violate territorial waters” and keeping them under surveillance off the island chain, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Despite the warnings, one of the surveillance ships responded by radio in Chinese, “This ocean area is integral part of China and we are carrying out legitimate operations,” according to a coast guard official.

Such vessels have been spotted loitering in waters off the islands as the dispute has escalated over the last two months, with boats at times entering a 12-nautical mile territorial zone.

Tensions peaked in mid-September after Tokyo nationalised a number of the islands.

The coast guard said it had spotted four Chinese maritime surveillance vessels sailing 24 to 35 kilometers off Uotsurijima—the largest island in the chain—in the morning.

It added that a Chinese fisheries patrol boat was also spotted about 42 kilometers off another island, Kubajima.

The five ships were located within the so-called 44-kilometer “contiguous zone” where the coastal state may exercise the controls necessary to prevent and punish infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea.

 

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/chinese-ships-spotted-off-disputed-islands

Tokyo governor risks Chinese outrage with disputed island construction plan

The hawkish governor of Tokyo intends to push ahead with a plan to construct port facilities on disputed islands, a move that would inevitably trigger renewed outrage in China.

The hawkish governor of Tokyo intends to push ahead with a plan to construct port facilities on disputed islands, a move that would inevitably trigger renewed outrage in China.

Uotsuri Island, one of disputed Senkaku islands in the East China Sea Photo: EPA

By Julian Ryall in Tokyo

7:47AM BST 05 Oct 2012

Allies of Shintaro Ishihara have confirmed that he is demanding that harbour facilities be constructed on the remote islands, which Japan calls the Senkakus but China insists are the Diaoyu islands, along with a lighthouse and a radio transmitter.

 

The development would be to provide a place of refuge for Japanese fishermen operating in waters around the islands, the officials told Reuters, although the suspicion is that Governor Ishihara is seeking a final showdown to determine ownership of the uninhabited islands.

China has previously stated that it is firmly opposed to any efforts to develop the islands and on Thursday, in an apparent show of force, a fleet of seven warships sailed between two of the islands of the Okinawan archipelago.

A further eight fisheries patrol vessels were also being tracked close to the Senkaku islands.

A Japan Coast Guard vessel (lower) sprays water against Taiwanese fishing boats, in the East China Sea near the Senkaku islands (AFP/Getty Images)

Responding to a warning from a Japan Coast Guard vessel to respect Japanese territorial waters, the Chinese ships replied that the islands are an inherent part of China and that the fleet was carrying out legitimate public duties.

The simmering recent three-way dispute over the islands – which Taiwan also claims and knows as the Tiaoyutai – was brought to the boil in April when Governor Ishihara announced that he was in talks with the Japanese family that owned three of the four islands in the chain.

Appealing for donations from like-minded citizens, Gov. Ishihara quickly amassed Y1.8 billion (£14.18 million) with which he planned to buy the islands and administer them from Tokyo. He was outflanked in September when the national government purchased the territory for the nation.

The government has attempted to cool the rising tensions with China – which has seen Japanese companies become the targets of rioters in cities across the country – by making no provocative moves concerning the islands. Instead, Tokyo has attempted to open lines of discussion with its counterparts in Beijing.

Undeterred, Ishihara now wants to use the donations he has collected to go ahead with the construction work to underline Japan’s sovereignty over the islands.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/9588601/Tokyo-governor-risks-Chinese-outrage-with-disputed-island-construction-plan.html

Chinese government ships entered territorial waters off disputed Tokyo-controlled islands for the second straight day

Chinese ships enter disputed waters for 2nd day in a row

NationalOct. 03, 2012 – 03:20PM JST( 0 )

Tokyo and Beijing remain locked in a diplomatic row over disputed islands in the East China SeaAFP

TOKYO  —

Chinese government ships entered territorial waters off disputed Tokyo-controlled islands for the second straight day Wednesday, the Japan Coast Guard said.

Three maritime surveillance ships “ignored warnings from patrol vessels of our agency… and entered our country’s territorial waters” shortly after 12:30 p.m., the coast guard said in a statement.

“Our patrol vessels are demanding they leave our country’s territorial waters by radio and other means but the Haijians have not replied,” it said, referring to the ships’ names.

They were off Kubashima, one of the islands in a chain known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.

The Chinese ships were among four vessels that had been in island waters on Tuesday, remaining for around six hours, despite demands from Japan that they leave.

Tensions have risen in recent months over the islands, which lie in rich fishing grounds and on key shipping lanes in the East China Sea. The seabed in the area is also believed to harbor mineral reserves.

Diplomats from China and Japan traded insults at the United Nations in New York last week and sometimes violent demonstrations in Chinese cities hit Japanese business interests in the country last month.

© 2012 AFP

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/chinese-ships-enter-disputed-waters-for-2nd-day-in-a-row

4 Chinese gov’t ships spotted in waters around disputed isles: Will not respond to request to leave

NationalOct. 02, 2012 – 03:50PM JST

TOKYO   —

Chinese government ships were back in waters around Japanese-controlled islands Tuesday, the coast guard said, a week after they last left and days after heated exchanges at the U.N. General Assembly.

The four maritime surveillance ships entered the waters shortly after 12:30 p.m., Japan’s coast guard said in a statement, adding that it was telling the ships to leave the area.

“Patrol ships from our agency have been telling them to sail outside of our territorial waters. There has not been any response” from the Chinese ships, the agency said.

Two other Chinese official vessels were sailing near the island chain, but not in what Japan claims as its territorial waters, the coast guard also reported in a separate statement.

It was the first time in about a week that Chinese ships had entered the waters, and came after a lull in a fearsome diplomatic spat over the sovereignty of the islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Official Chinese vessels repeatedly sailed into the archipelago’s waters until last Monday, defying warnings from Japan’s well-equipped coastguard.

And last week Chinese and Japanese diplomats at the United Nations in New York traded insults, with China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi accusing Japan of theft.

The islands lie in rich fishing grounds and on key shipping lanes. The seabed in the area is also believed to harbor mineral reserves.

Japan’s deputy U.N. ambassador Kazuo Kodama retorted that the islands were legally Japanese territory and said “an assertion that Japan took the islands from China cannot logically stand.”

Historical grievances stemming from Japan’s wartime expansionism also complicate the argument, as does a claim of ownership by Taiwan.

That claim was pressed last Tuesday when dozens of fishing boats were escorted into island waters by the Taiwanese coastguard, sparking water cannon exchanges with Japanese coast guard vessels.

The decades-old dispute came to the fore earlier this year when Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara announced he wanted to buy the island chain from its private Japanese landowner.

Nationalists from both sides staged island landings before Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda stepped in to outbid Ishihara, who had amassed well over a billion yen in public donations towards the cost.

The government completed its purchase of three of the five islands in the chain—it already owned one and leases the fifth—on Sept 11.

Observers said Noda’s move to nationalize the islands had been an attempt to hose down an issue that looked set to become an international problem.

But Beijing reacted furiously and unleashed diplomatic vitriol on Tokyo, while tens of thousands of protesters poured onto streets in cities across China.

In demonstrations that commentators said had at least tacit approval from the authorities, Japanese businesses were targeted by violence and arson, with some forced to shutter temporarily.

The protests escalated, culminating a fortnight ago on a day coinciding with the 81st anniversary of the Mukden Incident, an episode marking the beginning of Japan’s occupation of swathes of modern-day China.

Chinese state media announced late last week that the Communist Party congress—at which a generational leadership change is expected to take place—would begin on Nov 8.

China-watchers had said a behind-the-scenes tussle over who will occupy key positions has been going on for some time, complicating Beijing’s behavior over the island dispute.

Japan’s political scene is also fragile and prey to nationalist sentiment. A weakened Noda is expected to call a general election over the coming months in which his fragmenting party looks set to fare badly.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/4-chinese-govt-ships-spotted-in-waters-around-disputed-isles

China State television on Saturday reported that the country’s navy and air forces conducted joint military exercises with live fire targeting a small island in the East China Sea.

 

China’s lines around islands suggest more conflict

  • LOUISE WATT – Associated Press (AP)
  • Posted September 29, 2012 at 4:08 a.m

BEIJING (AP) — One of the hottest items in bookstores across China is a map for a place that is closed to visitors, home only to animals such as goats and crabs, and the reason China’s relations with Japan are at their lowest point in years.

China calls them the Diaoyus; Japan, the Senkakus. The new map shows a satellite image of a kidney-shaped main island with splotches of green and a list of 70 affiliated “islands” that are really half-submerged rocks.

China hastily published the map to help maintain public outrage over the Japanese government’s purchase of some of the islands from their private Japanese owners. Beijing also has engaged in another type of mapmaking that may end up escalating the conflict.

It has drawn new territorial markers, or baselines, around the islands and submitted them to the United Nations. That could lead to a more serious attempt to claim the islands, and broad swaths of valuable ocean around them.

“The status quo has been broken in the last month by Japan’s purchase and China’s publishing of the baselines,” said Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt of the International Crisis Group. She said friction is likely to reach its worst level since the 1980s when China and Japan tacitly agreed to set aside the dispute in pursuit of better overall relations.

Beijing has been firm rhetorically. On Saturday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the country must safeguard its territorial integrity at a reception celebrating the upcoming National Day.

State television on Saturday reported that the country’s navy and air forces conducted joint military exercises with live fire targeting a small island in the East China Sea.

More than lines on paper are at stake. By submitting the baselines to the U.N., China is spelling out its claim to the waters, the fish in them and the oil, gas and other minerals beneath them. Up until now, China has sought to jointly exploit resources with Japan through negotiation.

Japan says it bought to islands to maintain stability, noting that the nationalist governor of Tokyo had been pushing a more radical plan to not only buy the islands but develop them. China, however, was outraged, and considered Japan’s move a violation of their earlier agreements.

The dispute has brought nationalism and patriotism to the fore, and sparked sometimes-violent protests in China targeting Japanese businesses, restaurants and cars. A Chinese man driving a Toyota Corolla was beaten unconscious by a mob in the tourist city of Xi’an and left partially paralyzed, according to state media. Chinese and Japanese coast guard vessels have been facing off in the contested waters.

The dispute is testing perhaps the most important economic relationship in Asia, between the world’s second- and third-largest economies.

Japan has claimed the islands since 1895. The U.S. took jurisdiction after World War II and turned them over to Japan in 1972. China says they have been part of its territory since ancient times, and that it opposed and never acknowledged the deal between Japan and the United States. Taiwan also claims them.

The islands make a strange setting for a potential conflict zone. The largest is less than 4 square kilometers (1.5 square miles). It is home to a growing population of goats — the offspring of a pair brought there by right-wing Japanese activists in 1977 — as well as moles, crabs, Okinawan ants, albatross and lizards, and plants including azalea.

The islands themselves are remote, “intrinsically worthless features” that were largely forgotten for decades, said Clive Schofield of the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong.

“The reason why there is uncertainty over the ownership, sovereignty is because they have essentially been ignored over a large period of time,” Schofield said.

A U.N. survey in the 1970s that said oil and gas may lie beneath the surrounding waters changed that. Then, the Law of the Sea Convention introduced the idea of 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones, or EEZs, which give coastal countries sole exploitation rights over all natural resources contained within.

China’s new baselines are a prelude to defining that exclusive zone. It has drawn straight lines around the main group of islands and a separate set around isolated Chiwei Island, some 50 nautical miles to the east.

It also plans to submit a document outlining the outer limits of its sea bed — those that stretch beyond 200 nautical miles from land — in the East China Sea to a U.N. commission. The move is a way for China to underscore its claim, but has little real impact. The commission, which comprises geological experts, evaluates the markers on technical grounds but has no authority to resolve overlapping claims.

“That puts a line in the sand, but it doesn’t have any legal impact,” said Ian Townsend Gault, director of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

He doubts whether the islands would be capable of generating a 200-nautical-mile EEZ because they are too insignificant — too small and without a population.

“They are not important in the economic sense, no matter how beautiful they look on postcards,” he said.

Legal questions aside, China sees the waters within its baselines as its internal waters under Beijing’s administration.

That raises the risk of a confrontation in the clear waters around the disputed islands between Japanese coast guard vessels and Chinese fishing boats and law enforcement vessels, and even Taiwanese vessels — all ostensibly with orders to patrol the area.

Already there has been sparring the past two weeks, with Chinese maritime surveillance vessels entering waters Japan claims, and the Japanese coast guard firing a water cannon at Taiwanese boats approaching the islands.

The parties could legally resolve their dispute if they submit it to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany, or their own court.

“Both would be equally terrified of losing on flimsy grounds,” said Townsend Gault. “They have snookered each other legally and diplomatically speaking. They have driven each other into a corner. We need some third party to say can you put this to bed so we don’t have this enormous disruption in your bilateral relations whereby people are smashing up Toyota dealerships.”

___

Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/sep/29/chinas-lines-around-islands-suggest-more/#ixzz27tU3eYvl

China carrier a show of force as Japan tension festers:”China will never tolerate any bilateral actions by Japan that harm Chinese territorial sovereignty,” Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said on Tuesday. “

China's first aircraft carrier, which was renovated from an old aircraft carrier that China bought from Ukraine in 1998, is seen docked at Dalian Port, in Dalian, Liaoning province in this September 22, 2012 file photo. China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, officially entered naval ranks on September 25, 2012 the country's Ministry of Defence announced, in a move that it said would help project maritime power and defend Chinese territory. REUTERS-Stringer-Files

 China’s first aircraft carrier, which was renovated from an old aircraft carrier that China bought from Ukraine in 1998, is seen docked at Dalian Port, in Dalian, Liaoning province in this September 22, 2012 file photo. China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, officially entered naval ranks on September 25, 2012 the country’s Ministry of Defence announced, in a move that it said would help project maritime power and defend Chinese territory.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer/Files

By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Terril Yue Jones

TOKYO/BEIJING |         Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:33am EDT

TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – China sent its first aircraft carrier into formal service on Tuesday amid a tense maritime dispute with Japan, a show of naval force that could worry its neighbors.

China’s Ministry of Defense said the newly named Liaoning aircraft carrier would “raise the overall operational strength of the Chinese navy” and help Beijing to “effectively protect national sovereignty, security and development interests”.

In fact, the aircraft carrier, refitted from a ship bought from Ukraine, will have a limited role, mostly for training and testing ahead of the possible launch of China’s first domestically built carriers after 2015, analysts say.

But China cast the formal handing over of the carrier to its navy as a triumphant show of national strength — at a time of bitter tensions with neighboring Japan over islands claimed by both sides.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply this month after Japan bought the East China Sea islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, from their private owner, sparking anti-Japan protests across China.

“China will never tolerate any bilateral actions by Japan that harm Chinese territorial sovereignty,” Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said on Tuesday. “Japan must banish illusions, undertake searching reflection and use concrete actions to amend its errors, returning to the consensus and understandings reached between our two countries’ leaders.”

The risks of military confrontation are scant, but political tensions between Asia’s two biggest economies could fester.

For the Chinese navy, the addition of carriers has been a priority as it builds a force capable of deploying far from the Chinese mainland.

China this month warned the United States, with President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia, not to get involved in separate territorial disputes in the South China Sea between China and U.S. allies such as the Philippines.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in turn urged China and its Southeast Asian neighbors to resolve disputes “without coercion, without intimidation, without threats and certainly without the use of force”.

The timing of the carrier launch might be associated with China’s efforts to build up patriotic unity ahead of a Communist Party congress that will install a new generation of top leaders as early as next month.

Narushige Michishita, a security expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, said he thought the timing had nothing to do with the islands dispute.

“NOT CUTTING EDGE”

“China is taking another step to boost its strategic naval capability,” he said. “If they come to have an operational aircraft carrier, for the time being we are not super-concerned about the direct implications for the military balance between the U.S. and Japan on the one hand, and China on the other. This is still not cutting edge.”

The East China Sea tensions with Japan have been complicated by the entry of Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing calls an illegitimate breakaway, which also lays claim to the islands.

Japanese Coast Guard vessels fired water cannon to turn away about 40 Taiwan fishing boats and 12 Taiwan Coast Guard vessels on Tuesday.

Japan protested to Taiwan, a day after it lodged a complaint with China over what it said was a similar intrusion by Chinese boats.

Taiwan has friendly ties with Japan, but the two sides have long squabbled over fishing rights in the area. China and Taiwan both argue they have inherited China’s historic sovereignty over the islands.

Japan’s top diplomat, Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai, was in Beijing for a meeting with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun in a bid to ease tensions between Asia’s two biggest economies.

The flare-up in tension comes at a time when both China and Japan confront domestic political pressures. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government faces an election in months, adding pressure on him not to look weak on China.

China’s Communist Party is preoccupied with the leadership turnover, with President Hu Jintao due to step down.

(Additional reporting by Linda Sieg in Tokyo and Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing; Editing by Nick Macfie)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/25/us-china-japan-idUSBRE88O06U20120925

 

Japan protests as Chinese ships enter Japanese territorial waters

Photo
1:25am EDT

By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Antoni Slodkowski

TOKYO |         Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:25am EDT

 

TOKYO (Reuters) – Three Chinese ships entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea on Monday, the Japanese government said, prompting an official protest and renewed diplomatic efforts to cool tensions.

The move comes a day after China called off celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of ties between the Asia’s largest economies and as officials from China’s ruling Communist Party, due to arrive in Tokyo on Monday, canceled their trip.

China’s Xinhua news agency said two civilian surveillance ships were undertaking a “rights defense” patrol near the islands, citing the State Oceanic Administration, which controls the ships. One fishery patrol vessel was also detected inside waters claimed by Japan, the Japanese Coast Guard said.

Japan said it had lodged an official protest.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply after Japan bought the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, earlier this month, sparking anti-Japan protests in cities across China.

“In recent days, Japan has constantly provoked incidents concerning the Diaoyu islands issue, gravely violating China’s territorial sovereignty,” China’s Xinhua news agency said.

The ship patrols were intended to exercise China’s “administrative jurisdiction” over the islands, it said.

“Following the relevant laws of the People’s Republic of China, (the ships) again carried out a regular rights defense patrol in our territorial waters around the Diaoyu islands.”

The Japanese Coast Guard ordered the Chinese ships to move out of the area, but received no response, an official said.

In a move that could further complicate the issue, a group of Taiwanese fishermen said they planned to sail to waters near the islands later on Monday to reassert their right to fish there.

Self-ruled Taiwan, which China regards as a breakaway province, also claims the isles, located near rich fishing grounds and potentially huge gas reserves.

Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by China’s memories of Japan’s military aggression in the 1930s and 1940s and present rivalry over regional influence and resources.

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai will visit China on Monday to discuss Sino-Japanese relations with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, the Foreign Ministry said.

The latest flare-up in tensions comes when both countries focus on domestic political pressures. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government faces an election in months, adding pressure on him not to look weak on China.

China’s Communist Party is preoccupied with a leadership turnover, with President Hu Jintao due to step down as party leader at a congress that could open as soon as next month.

Noda leaves for New York on Monday to take part in the annual gathering of the U.N. General Assembly, and attention will focus on whether he refers to the dispute.

Despite the long-running territorial row, economic ties between China and Japan have grown closer over the years and China is Japan’s largest trading partner. In 2011, their bilateral trade grew 14.3 percent in value to a record $345 billion.

Tokyo’s Nikkei China 50 index, composed of stocks of Japanese companies with significant exposure to the world’s second-largest economy, shed 1.3 percent in morning trade on concerns over the dispute.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Japanese carmakers saw a 90 percent drop in showroom traffic and a 60 percent fall sales in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, the largest market for Japanese brands, since the beginning of the anti-Japan protests.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Antoni Slodkowski and Dominic Lau in Tokyo, Chris Buckley in Beijing and Jonathan Standing in Taipei; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Nick Macfie)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/24/us-china-japan-idUSBRE88N01M20120924

China surveillance ships enter waters near disputed islands: In Japanese territorial waters

TOKYO |         Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:35pm EDT

TOKYO (Reuters) – Two Chinese marine surveillance ships entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea on Monday, the Japanese Coast Guard said, a move bound to raise tension between Asia’s two largest economies.

China’s Xinhua news agency confirmed that two civilian surveillance ships were undertaking a “rights defense” patrol near the islands, citing the State Oceanic Administration, which controls the ships.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply after Japan bought the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, sparking anti-Japan protests in cities across China.

“In recent days, Japan has constantly provoked incidents concerning the Diaoyu islands issue, gravely violating China’s territorial sovereignty,” China’s Xinhua news agency said.

The ship patrols were intended to exercise China’s “administrative jurisdiction” over the islands, it said.

“Following the relevant laws of the People’s Republic of China, (the ships) again carried out a regular rights defense patrol in our territorial waters around the Diaoyu islands.”

The Japanese Coast Guard ordered the Chinese ships to move out of the area, but received no response, an official said.

Besides the two marine surveillance ships, there were nine Chinese fishery patrol ships near the islands as of 7:00 a.m. (2200 GMT on Sunday), but they were outside what Japan calls its territorial waters, the Coast Guard said.

Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by China’s memories of Japan’s military aggression in the 1930s and 1940s and present rivalry over regional influence and resources.

The islets are located near rich fishing grounds and potentially huge gas reserves.

The latest flare-up in tensions comes when both countries focus on domestic political pressures. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government faces an election in months, adding pressure on him not to look weak on China.

China’s Communist Party is preoccupied with a leadership turnover, with President Hu Jintao due to step down as party leader at a congress that could open as soon as next month.

Despite the long-running territorial disputes, their economic ties have grown closer over the years. China is Japan’s largest trading partner. In 2011, their bilateral trade grew 14.3 percent in value to a record $345 billion.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Antoni Slodkowski in Tokyo and Chris Buckley in Beijing; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Nick Macfie)

China delays approval of working visas

Firms made to wait as Beijing retaliates amid Senkakus flare-up

Kyodo
Sunday, Sep. 23, 2012

BEIJING — Japanese companies are experiencing delays in obtaining working visas for their employees from Chinese authorities due to the Senkaku Islands row, domestic business sources said.

The delays have triggered concerns among corporations about possible staff shortages at their facilities and installations in China, the sources said.

Beijing vowed to retaliate against Japan after the government announced earlier this month that it had bought and nationalized three of the Senkaku islets, which are also claimed by China and Taiwan, in the East China Sea.

According to the business sources, it typically takes four to five business days for China’s immigration authorities to issue Japanese companies working visas for their employees, but a number of firms are still waiting for them after eight workdays.

Businesses say they have no idea when Chinese authorities will return to the normal processing speed. “We have been told they won’t issue visas at present,” a Japanese business source said.

Beijing has accused Tokyo of ratcheting up the territorial dispute over the Japan-controlled Senkakus, which it calls Diaoyu, and warned that it will affect bilateral economic relations. China is Japan’s largest trading partner.

China’s customs authorities have already tightened clearance procedures for goods imported from Japan, including key components for electronics and other labor-intensive products used by Japanese companies to assemble products at Chinese plants.

Chinese customs took a similar measure in 2010 when ties soured over the arrest of a Chinese trawler captain who rammed two Japan Coast Guard cutters.

Meanwhile, tour agencies in China have cancelled sightseeing tours to Japan and the public has vowed to boycott Japanese goods in retaliation.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said Beijing will not yield “half a step” in the sovereignty dispute while Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to be appointed leader of the Communist Party this fall, has dismissed Japan’s purchase of three islets from a Saitama Prefecture businessman as “a farce.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120923a1.html

Brief History of The Islands in Dispute between China and Japan: Islands Just sold for 26 Million

October Surprise: 2012 Sino-Japanese War Edition

A chain of islands with a land area just a little more than 10% that of Manhattan is causing big trouble in East Asia.  The Senkaku Islands are a persistent thorn in Sino-Japanese relations, and it appears that both countries are on course for one of the epic dick-measuring contests they have every couple of years over the chain. Below, I’ve linked to a report to events this weekend in the region.

Background

The Senkaku Islands have been a source of dispute between China and Japan since the late 1970s, but the truth of the matter is that neither one of them actually gives a damn about the islands themselves.  No one actually lives there.  They are barren rock outcrops about a hundred miles away from anything of interest, but they grant an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)  which includes the Chunxiao field, which is believed to be rich in natural gas/petroleum but has yet to be developed because of the dispute.

Prior to 1895, the islands where unoccupied, although the People’s Republic of China claims them on the basis that the surrounding waters have been exploited by Chinese fisherman for centuries.  Bolstering this claim is the belief that the chain is historically connected to Okinawa, which between 1429-1879 was part of the Chinese vassal, Ryuku Kingdom. However, it should also be noted that from 1609 on, Okinawa was also a vassal of the Japanese Satsuma Domain.

The 1895 Sino-Japanese war resulted in the transfer of  Chinese claims in the region, including Taiwan and Okinawa to the Japanese.  That same year, Japan annexed the Senkaku islands, claiming that they were terra nullis and placed a small number of settlers on them.  This situation persisted until the end of the Second World War, after which Taiwan was returned to China, and the US occupied Okinawa and the Senkakus.  In 1972, the US returned both to Japan. At roughly the same time, the present dispute emerged as the gas/oil potential of the surrounding waters became known.

Every few years, there’s a heated exchange over the islands that normally dies down after 2-3 months.  Both Chinese and Japanese nationalists are passionately dedicated to the idea that the Senkaku islands are an integral part of their country.  Beyond the possibility of mineral wealth, there are extremist groups on both sides that have fueled the dispute.  Most recently in 2010, the arrest of Chinese fishermen after they rammed a Japan Coast Guard vessel attempting to remove them from the waters surrounding the islands led to a rapid escalation in the war of words between the country.

Although it is clear that the Chinese fishermen (likely acting as proxies for the Chinese government) were the aggressors in this case, ultimately it was the Japanese government that backed down. In 2010, the Chinese government began to lose control over the protests cum riots which occurred throughout the country against Japanese interests.  Japanese nationalists loathed this, and having been looking for a way to force the Japanese national government to  take a strong stand against persistent violations of their territorial waters by Chinese activists and fishing vessels.  So they raised money to buy the damn islands.

Sarajevo on the Sea

Until this year, the Senkaku Islands were owned by the descendants of one of the Japanese families which settled the islands after 1895. Earlier this year, Shintaro Ishihara, governor of Tokyo prefecture and leader in the opposition LDP, raised private funds to purchase the islands from the family, and attach them to Tokyo prefecture. In order to preempt this, the Japanese national government made moves to purchase the islands themselves, eventually turning them over to the Japan Coast Guard earlier this week.  This news provoked serious protests in China, and prompted the decision to send Chinese warships to patrol the islands. This is the CCP responding to the Chinese street.  Better for Beijing to be with the protesters throwing rocks, then getting them thrown at them.

From the Daily KOS:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/16/1132593/-October-Surprise-2012-Sino-Japanese-War-Edition