Why China seems to be fanning the flames of its row with Japan in the East China Sea

Blunt words and keen swords

Nov 10th 2012 | from the print edition

 

DESPITE a third round of talks this week, China and Japan seem no closer to ending their stand-off over the tiny, uninhabited islands known to China as the Diaoyus and to Japan as the Senkakus. Indeed, the row seems to be intensifying. Chinese spokesmen are lining up to recall Japan’s shameful imperial past and to warn it to back off. Vessels from the two countries confront each other almost daily in waters near the islands. In the circumstances, it hardly helped that this week Japan and America started “Operation Keen Sword”, a regular naval drill involving 34,000 Japanese and 10,000 Americans in waters near the disputed islands. At least the exercise was changed so that it no longer includes a rehearsal for recapturing an invaded island.

The tension is in no country’s interests, least of all China’s. With the political uncertainty at home that a leadership transition brings, this is hardly the time to pick a fight with a neighbour. And although Japan suffers from Chinese consumer boycotts and informal commercial sanctions, China loses too, as Japanese investors and tourists take fright. The perception of Chinese bellicosity damages its interests elsewhere. South-East Asian countries whose claims in the South China Sea clash with China’s look at its behaviour farther north and raise military spending and strengthen their ties with America. And there is a small but real risk that the stand-off could result in a clash; that a clash could provoke a reprisal; and that tit-for-tat reprisals could become war.

This could even, conceivably, embroil America. The security treaty signed in 1960 between Japan and the United States commits America to come to Japan’s help in the event of an attack. America has confirmed that, although it takes no position as to who owns the islands, Japan administers them and so they are covered by the treaty. Four former senior American officials who visited China and Japan late last month reminded China of this. In a confidential assessment they gave to Hillary Clinton, America’s secretary of state, the four reportedly worried that, though neither Japan nor China wanted it, “mistake or miscalculation” over the islands could yet escalate into military confrontation.

However, rather than trying to cool the dispute, China is heating it up, dangerously. It refuses even to consider Japan’s justification for the action that provoked the stand-off—its purchase in September of three of the islands from their private owner. The prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, wanted to thwart their purchase by Shintaro Ishihara, then governor of Tokyo, a right-winger wanting to assert Japanese sovereignty more aggressively. China saw the move as a bid to solidify Japan’s claim and change the status quo. Most Chinese analysts suspect Mr Noda of conniving with Mr Ishihara, who has since launched his own party.

In response to the “nationalisation” of the disputed islands, China lodged its claim to “territorial baselines” around them and is sending (civilian) government patrol vessels into their waters ever more frequently. The Chinese foreign ministry has noted “fundamental changes” in the islands’ situation, and has claimed to have “expelled” Japanese ships from their waters. So China is now challenging not just Japan’s claim to sovereignty over the islands; it is questioning even its administrative control.

Meanwhile, senior Chinese soldiers and diplomats are linking the row to Japan’s militarist past. Ren Haiquan, a general at China’s Academy of Military Science, on October 29th reminded a regional-security conference in Australia of Japan’s history as a fascist country that had once bombed Darwin. He also hinted at China’s fears that America is stoking tension to undermine China, and to encourage Japan to share more of the burden of containing it. Chinese officials and scholars mutter darkly about a rightward lurch in Japanese politics. Writing in the Financial Times (which is a part-owner of The Economist), Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to Britain, accused Japan of “attempting to negate the outcome of the war against military fascism”.

The memory of Japanese occupation and wartime atrocities is still fresh in China. But to Western ears, the references to fascism sound alarmingly ill-informed. Nearly 70 years have passed since Japan lost the war. It has become a stable if often dysfunctional democracy. It has a small if strident nationalist right wing, but the idea that its policy on the Senkakus somehow marks a resurgence of its imperialist past seems preposterous.

 

To explain China’s hard line, analysts in Tokyo look to factors outside the dispute. At a time of Japanese decline and American distraction, they suggest, China wants to test the strength of the two countries’ alliance. Above all they point to China’s change of leadership. They argue either that the Politburo is distracted, allowing hardliners in the army and elsewhere to confuse policy, or that, at a time like this, no would-be leader can afford to be seen as other than fierce in the defence of national sovereignty.

A game of make-believe

In fact, however, Chinese statements and actions throughout the stand-off have shown little sign of confusion or division. They have been consistent and apparently well co-ordinated. Unpalatable though it is in Tokyo, perhaps Chinese spokesmen mean what they say. Perhaps they really do think the right wing in Japan is behind the change in the islands’ status, and needs to be confronted. For them, the transition in China is also relevant—but only because China’s enemies see it as a chance to take advantage. China must stand firm.

One well-informed Chinese analyst still thinks conflict can be avoided. He believes a silent, unacknowledged “compromise” is, in effect, already in place. China has had to accept the “nationalisation” of the three islands. Japan has had to accept that China will frequently visit them. If so, that is much better than a war. But it involves each country pretending that it controls the islands without enforcing the pretence. It is hard to imagine an arrangement more vulnerable to mistake and miscalculation.

 

http://www.economist.com/news/china/21565980-why-china-seems-be-fanning-flames-its-row-japan-east-china-sea-blunt-words

Japan, China engage in war of words at ASEM summit

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012

Kyodo

VIENTIANE — Japan and China engaged in a war of words over the Senkaku Islands dispute Tuesday at the summit of Asian and European leaders, government sources said.

During a session of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Vientiane, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Japan places importance on overcoming any conflicts in a peaceful approach in accordance with international law.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who took over from Premier Wen Jiabao at the meeting, said the outcome of an “anti-Fascist” war should not be denied, a reference to what China says is its legitimate claims to the disputed islands, sources close to the talks said.

Wen had left the meeting on Tuesday morning.

Noda’s remarks were aimed at seeking ASEM countries’ understanding of Japan’s position on the dispute without naming China.

The following are the main points of remarks Tuesday by Japan and China regarding the Senkaku dispute, according to a briefing by a Japanese official.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said:

Japan has consistently and firmly maintained its policy of being a peaceful nation since the end of World War II and made a substantial contribution to peace and prosperity in Asia. This is Japan’s national virtue. Japan is resolved to moving ahead with its friends in the Asia-Pacific region and in Europe, who share the same basic values as our country. The international community still has many problems that pose a threat to regional peace and prosperity. Japan believes it is important to overcome any conflicts or differences in principles and policies in a peaceful approach, abiding by international law.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said:

Representing China, I have clearly said in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly that the Chinese government’s position on the Diaoyu has been totally and strictly consistent. What I would like to emphasize is that we cannot deny the results of an anti-fascism war and should not deny the order of the postwar era. Many countries have expressed their interest in this issue.

Noda said:

Originally, I didn’t intend to talk about bilateral issues, but I will make our position clear since China commented on this matter. Historically speaking and in line with international law, there is no doubt that the Senkakus are an integral part of our territory and Japan now effectively controls the islands. There is no dispute over the sovereignty of the isles that should be settled. We aim to continue to play a responsible role to maintain peace and prosperity in the international community.

Yang said:

China has controlled the Diaoyu for 600 years since the era of the Ming Dynasty. Japan’s behavior publicly denies the results of an antifascist war and poses serious challenges to postwar international order and principles.

Noda says Japan will boost coast security

NationalOct. 30, 2012 – 10:45AM JST( 27 )

TOKYO   —

Japan will “strengthen security” around its coasts, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Monday, as Chinese ships again plied waters near disputed islands.

“While observing the pacifism that is a pillar of our constitution… I will make efforts in strengthening security in surrounding sea areas,” Noda said in a policy speech to the Diet.

“It is unmistakable that the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming more serious than ever. Various events touching on territorial and sovereign rights are occurring,” he said.

The comments came after Japan said on Friday that it will spend 17 billion yen to beef up its coast guard, as maritime confrontations continue over an archipelago in the East China Sea.

“With an unflagging resolve, I will carry out the function of protecting territorial lands and waters… while observing international law,” said Noda.

On Sunday, four Chinese maritime surveillance ships were spotted in territorial waters around the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands, which China claims as the Diaoyus.

On Monday, Chinese vessels were in the so-called contiguous zone, a band of waters that stretches 12 nautical miles from the edge of a state’s territorial waters.

Chinese vessels have moved in and out of what Japan says is its sovereign territory over the last nearly two months since Tokyo nationalized some of the islands.

As well as the potential mineral reserves to which ownership of the islands grants access, both countries have considerable amounts of national pride at stake in the decades-old spat.

The dispute has hit the huge trade relationship between the two largest economies in the region and senior representatives from both governments are reportedly readying for a third round of talks on the issue.

© 2012 AFP

Island plans by Tokyo’s nationalist governor may stoke fresh China tensions

By Antoni Slodkowski and Junko FujitaPosted 2012/10/03 at 11:42 pm EDT

TOKYO, Oct. 3, 2012 (Reuters) — Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, a fiery nationalist whose failed bid to buy a group of disputed islands ignited a crisis with China, is pushing ahead with a plan to build structures there to hammer home Japan’s claim, officials involved told Reuters.

Although such a move is not imminent, it would be certain to strain Japan’s already shaky relations with China and could prompt a rebuke from the Obama administration, which has urged both sides to ease tensions by setting aside the dispute.

Ishihara’s gambit appears aimed at forcing a new showdown in the island dispute with China. It is based on the view that Japan’s main opposition — the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) — is likely to take power in an election in the coming months and that it would be receptive to his hard-line policies, two officials close to Ishihara said.

Akiko Santo, a member of the House of Councillors from the LDP, said Ishihara would try to win support from a new government to use about $19 million he has raised from contributors to build some basic infrastructure on the islands.

Ishihara’s deputy, Naoki Inose, has confirmed the plan.

They claim that construction of a lighthouse, radio transmitter or basic harbor facilities would increase safety for Japanese fishermen. It was not clear how — or even whether — such private funds could be used for construction on government property.

Ishihara set off the slide in Japan-China relations with his initial bid to buy the islands, ensuring his next steps in the dispute will be scrutinized.

Narushige Michishita, an associate professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, said Ishihara’s push could “re-create the situation we have just gone through — strong reaction from China followed by demonstrations and attacks on Japanese companies.”

That effort was thwarted when the national government outbid Ishihara last month with a taxpayer-funded bid to acquire three of the isolated islands called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s nationalization of the islands was intended to keep them from Ishihara and to head off a more damaging confrontation with China.

But the Japanese government’s move triggered a wave of protests in China that shuttered Japanese factories and stores, disrupted trade and prompted Beijing to strengthen its own claim to the disputed territory.

‘SACRED TERRITORY’

China has claimed the islands as its “sacred territory” and says its claim predates Japan’s. Patrol ships from the two countries have been circling in a standoff in the waters off the disputed islands, raising concern that a collision or other incident could escalate into a bigger clash.

Now an independent, Ishihara has been governor of Tokyo since 1999. A former LDP member and author, he is best known for writing “The Japan that Can Say No,” a 1989 book that urged Japan to step away from reliance on the United States.

The LDP is expected to capitalize on frustration with Noda’s government and his Democratic Party of Japan, which took power in 2009 but has been criticized for its response to last year’s earthquake and nuclear disaster and its economic stewardship.

Last month, former prime minister Shinzo Abe was elected to lead the LDP as the party heads into an election that could be called before year end. Abe’s selection as his chief aide, Shigeru Ishiba, is a defense expert who has argued Japan should take stronger action to protect territory it claims in disputes with China and South Korea.

Ishihara began raising private contributions from supporters earlier in the year to buy the islands in the East China Sea.

“The funds will be used when something can be done together with the LDP,” said Santo, an Ishihara ally who had tried to broker Tokyo’s effort to buy the islands from the family that has owned them since the late 1970s.

Tokyo vice governor Inose added: “With an Ishiba or Abe government we could use the funds we have raised to build some kind of shelter for ships or a transmitter or lighthouse.”

Ishihara, 80, had said on September 11 — the day the national government signed a contract to buy the islands — that the Tokyo government could hand over the money it raised “if the next administration agreed to build a minimum of infrastructure” on the disputed territory.

Inose and Santo indicated those plans were still moving ahead even after the wave of costly protests in China and the escalating tension between the two sides over the past month.

Recent opinion polls show the LDP as more popular than the center-left DPJ and Abe as having more support than Noda among Japanese voters. That could create a new opening for Ishihara to push his plans for the disputed islands.

Noda, 55, said last month his priority was to “maintain stable administration” over the islands and questions of any construction on the property should be taken up later.

“We are already maintaining and controlling (the islands) in a calm and stable manner,” Japan Foreign Koichiro Gemba said on Wednesday when asked about proposals to build on the islands.

Now that Abe has taken the LDP’s helm, his stance on territorial disputes will be reflected in the party’s policy, an LDP official in the party’s policy planning wing said.

“I think Abe and Ishiba are of the same mind here (as Ishihara),” Santo told Reuters. “Of course, all of this depends on the LDP taking back power in the next election.”

($1=78.04 yen)

(Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, writing by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre89307e-us-japan-china-islands/#

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 to UN: Japan ‘stole’ islands

Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi, leading China’s delegation at the UN General Assembly, spoke Thursday, a day after a speech in which the Japanese prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, didn’t mention the Diaoyu Islands. Yang said Beijing will “continue to take firm measures” to safeguard the Diaoyus’ territorial sovereignty. Tension has escalated since the Japanese government in early September announced the purchase of the islands from a so-called private owner.

Credits:

Reporter:
Yuwei Zhang
Video:
Derek Bosko
Photo Research:
Wei Yu
Supervising Producer:
Calvin Zhou
Senior Producer:
Larry Lee, Ji Tao

Bullet sent to Chinese embassy in Japan

CrimeSep. 29, 2012 – 06:15AM JST( 5 )

TOKYO  —

The Chinese embassy in Tokyo has received a bullet in the post, with the sender giving their name as the Japanese prime minister, police and reports said Friday, amid a festering territorial row.

An envelope containing the rifle bullet arrived at the embassy on Thursday morning, Jiji Press said.

A spokeswoman at the prime minister’s office said only that the premier had not sent the bullet, without elaborating on any action it might take.

Noting that the sender’s name written on the envelope was “Yoshihiko Noda”, embassy officials took it to police, Jiji said, citing investigative sources.

There was no letter included.

“It is true that an envelope containing a bullet-like object was sent to the embassy,” said a police spokesman. “Police are investigating whether it was a real bullet.”

Tensions between Japan and China have flared since the nationalist governor of Tokyo said he wanted to buy and develop the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Beijing claims them as the Diaoyus.

They spiked when the Japanese government nationalised them, a move Tokyo says was purely administrative but which Beijing lashed out at as a provocation.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/bullet-sent-to-chinese-embassy-in-japan

Military conflict ‘looms’ between China and Japan: Speculation already taking place into what role the U.S. will play in the War

War between China and Japan looms, with neither power willing to back down over a disputed chain of islands, expert warns.

Yan Xuetong who has warned that unless one side backs down, there could be a repeat of the Falklands Conflict in Asia
Malcolm Moore

By , Beijing

3:16PM BST 27 Sep 2012

The spat over the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands has escalated dramatically in the past month with violent protests across China.

But with a national election approaching in Japan, and a change of leadership in China, politicians on both sides have refused to step back from the brink, afraid that they will appear weak.

“There is a danger of China and Japan having a military conflict,” said Yan Xuetong, one of China’s most influential foreign policy strategists, and a noted hawk.

“One country must make a concession. But I do not see Japan making concessions. I do not see either side making concessions. Both sides want to solve the situation peacefully, but neither side can provide the right approach,” he added.

He warned that unless one side backs down, there could be a repeat of the Falklands Conflict in Asia.

“Generally speaking, according to the theory of international relations, unless one country makes concessions to the other, the escalation of a conflict between two countries will not stop until there is a military clash, like between the UK and Argentina,” he said.

He added: “China takes a very tolerant policy elsewhere, with smaller powers. But the case of Japan is different. There is history between us. Japan is a big power. It regards itself as a regional, and sometimes a world power. So China can very naturally regard Japan as an equal. And if we are equal, you cannot poke us. You cannot make a mistake.”

Mr Yan is the dean of International Relations at Tsinghua university, the elite college that schooled both China’s president, Hu Jintao, and his likely successor, Xi Jinping.

He is also one of China’s representatives to the Council of Security Cooperation of Asia-Pacific, a non-governmental body that coordinates security in the region.

Chinese and Japanese diplomats have met this week for talks over the crisis, but no agreement has been reached.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign ministry attacked Yoshihiko Noda, the Japanese prime minister, for telling reporters at the United Nations that the islands belonged to Japan.

“There are no territorial issues as such. Therefore, there cannot be any compromise that represents a retreat from this position,” Mr Noda said.

“China is strongly disappointed and sternly opposes the Japanese leader’s obstinacy regarding his wrong position on the Diaoyu Islands issue,” replied the Chinese Foreign ministry.

In the balance is some £216 billion of bilateral trade. Last year, exports to China were responsible for three per cent of the Japanese economy.

Meanwhile Japan’s new opposition leader, Shinzo Abe, is, if anything, more determined than Mr Noda. “Japan’s oceans and territory are being threatened. It is my mission to overcome these difficulties,” he said.

Several Japanese businesses on the Chinese mainland have had to shut down because of the crisis. Nissan, which relies on the Chinese market for as much as 25 per cent of its revenues, has shut down until October 7 after demand for its cars plummeted.

Toyota has suspended plants in Tianjin and Guangzhou until October 8.

Chinese consumers are shying away from Japanese cars not just because of nationalism, but out of fear after one man in Xi’an was beaten into a coma for driving a Japanese marque.

All Nippon Airways, meanwhile, said 40,000 reservations had been cancelled on flights between China and Japan from this month to November. A cruise line between Shanghai and Nagasaki will suspend its operations from October 13. Guizhou television has banned all advertisements by Japanese brands.

Mitsumi, a supplier for Nintendo, has not reopened its factory in Qingdao since September 16, while two toothbrush factories owned by Lion Corporation also remain shuttered.

Mr Yan predicted that if there was a military confrontation between China and Japan, the United States would not physically intervene.

“I do not think they will send soldiers to fight against the People’s Liberation Army,” he said. “They [the US] will be involved, but they can be involved in many different ways, providing intelligence, ammunition, political support, logistical help and so on.”

Mr Yan said he expected whoever wins the US presidential election to continue to toughen policy on China.

“In terms of the economy, China and the US are partners. But in terms of security, they are rivals. We both know we cannot get along. Both sides are always alert to the other’s military policy,” he said.

“In the future, the military relationship will become more important. There is a simple reason for this: American hegemony is based on military capability and the military gap with China. When China narrows that gap, it will scare the US,” he said.

However, he added that China increasingly needs to change the ideology that guides its foreign policy. “Deng Xiaoping said China should not take a leadership role, make no alliances, and focus on the economy.

“This gap, between China’s international status and its foreign policy is widening. We have reached the point where China needs to seriously consider having a new policy consistent with its international status. I do not know when it will happen, but it will not be too long,” he said.

Additional reporting by Valentina Luo

China official says spat with Japan derails free trade talks

Posted 2012/09/27 at 11:46 am EDT

BEIJING, Sep. 27, 2012 (Reuters) — A festering territorial dispute between China and Japan has derailed talks for a free trade zone involving the two countries and South Korea, an adviser to China’s central bank said on Thursday.

Sino-Japanese ties are at their lowest in decades amid a row over a series of islands in the East China Sea, waters believed to be rich in natural gas deposits, with neither side backing down on its claim of sovereignty.

Violent protests broke out across China last week after the Japanese government bought two of the islands, known as the Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkaku in Japan. Tokyo also has a dispute over other islands with South Korea.

“We hope the suspension is temporary,” Chen Yulu, a professor at China’s Renmin University and an adviser to the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China, said of the free trade zone talks. “It will be a big loss for Asia if the process is terminated.”

Chen was speaking on the sidelines of a central banking conference involving representatives of all three nations.

Despite the tension, Japanese and Chinese officials met on Thursday to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations, but the head of the Japanese side said he came “with a heavy heart”.

What was meant to be a high-level celebration of normalized relations was instead a stiff acknowledgement that the world’s second- and third-largest economies remain neighbors with a long history of cooperation.

“Today I have come to Beijing with a number of people who have worked hard over a long time on relations with China,” former Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono told Jia Qinglin, a senior Chinese leader, in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

“The conditions are rather different from when I met Your Excellency in the spring, and I come this time with a heavy heart.”

Jia, the Communist Party’s fourth-ranked official, called the Japanese visitors “old friends of the Chinese people”.

(Reporting by Terril Yue Jones and Kevin Yao; Editing by Nick Macfie)

http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre88p1qs-us-china-japan/

 

China blasts Japan PM’s hardline stance on islands: Called Japan ” self-deceiving “

On Thursday, China hit back at the Japanese prime minister for his statement that Tokyo would not compromise in the ongoing territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea. PM Yoshihiko Noda said the previous day that the islands are an “inherent part of our territory, in light of history and international law.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said Beijing “is strongly disappointed and sternly opposes the Japanese leader’s obstinacy regarding his wrong position,” the AP reported. “The country seriously challenges the post-war international order, but tries to take the rules of international law as a cover. This is self-deceiving,” he said in a separate statement.

Japan won’t compromise with China on claim to islands, Noda says

Japan will never budge on its “sacred” ownership claim to islands in the East China Sea also claimed by China, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said, doing little to ease tensions with Asia’s top economic power.

While Japan isn’t seeking a military confrontation with China and wants to keep talking “calmly,” the disputed islands “are an inherent part of our territory in light of history and also under international law,” Noda told reporters in New York today in comments translated into English by an interpreter.Tensions over the islands, known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese, have spilled over onto the sidelines of an annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations. The foreign ministers of China and Japan yesterday held talks at a hotel in New York that revealed no room for compromise.

Noda’s words came amid the worst diplomatic crisis between the two nations since 2005. A first round of talks yesterday did not go well. China “will not tolerate” Japan’s claims to islands in the East China Sea, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said after its minister, Yang Jiechi, met with his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba.

Japan’s Gemba described the atmosphere at the meeting as “severe” and emphasized Japan’s “maximum restraint” over the dispute, Kyodo News reported yesterday.

“There was agreement to maintain lines of communication through working-level talks,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters today in Tokyo, adding that the meeting lasted about an hour. “There are no magic tricks in diplomacy. It all comes down to holding talks through various channels and at various levels.”

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)