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Diaoyu Islands 釣魚島 - Undisputed China Territory***

Thumbnail Diaoyu Islands - our home 我们的钓鱼岛 第1集 第2集 第3集 第4集 第5集

Worldwide News Coverage on Diaoyu Island - UNDISPUTED Chinese territory  Aug - Sep 2012 October - Dec 2012

diaoyuislands4.jpg (35612 bytes) Return to Diaoyu Island Main Page http://hkchcc.org/diaoyuislands.htm

*January 18 2013

US position on Japan island control a ‘betrayal’: China By Agence France Presse in Beijing

Hong Kong activists display anti-Japan banners in front of the building housing the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong on January 8, 2013. 

Veiled US warnings to Beijing not to challenge Japan’s control of disputed islands encouraged Tokyo’s “dangerously right-leaning” government and “betrayed” Washington’s vow of neutrality, Chinese state media said on Saturday.

The comments came as Japan’s coastguard said three Chinese government ships had entered Japanese territorial waters around the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said the area around the islands in the East China Sea was under Japan’s control and therefore protected under a US security treaty with Tokyo.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington, and without mentioning Beijing directly, she said the US opposed “any unilateral actions” to undermine Japanese authority over the islands.

But in a commentary piece, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua criticised Washington’s position, saying it “cast doubts on (US) credibility as a responsible power in the region”.

It was “unwise” for Washington “to throw support behind Japan in Tokyo’s islands dispute with Beijing”, Xinhua said, adding: “This unbalanced position has betrayed its declared intention to stay neutral on the issue.”

The US proposal for “tighter military alliance with Japan will only encourage Tokyo’s dangerously right-leaning tendency”, Xinhua said.

Three Chinese government surveillance vessels sailed in waters around the disputed islands Saturday for nearly five hours but had all left Japanese waters by 1:52 pm (12:52 HK time), the Japan coastguard said.

China has repeatedly sailed into the waters since Japan nationalised the chain in September, a move that triggered anger and demonstrations in China.

The United States insists it is neutral on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands.

“We want to see China and Japan resolve this matter peacefully through dialogue,” Clinton said on Friday.

“We do not want to see any action taken by anyone that could raise tensions or result in miscalculation that would undermine the peace, security and economic growth in this region.”

China has persistently criticised the US position and the sending of maritime surveillance ships to the potentially gas-rich area is seen by experts as a way to contest the notion that Japan holds effective control.

*December 28 2012

Asia Weekly names Diaoyu voyagers 'people of the year' By Peony Lui

Eight Diaoyu activists from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland are featured on cover of Asia Weekly as 'persons of the year' for 2012. Hong Kong fishing vessel Kai Fung No 2 docks at a public pier at Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. Vessel owner Lo Chau. Yeung Hong speaks to the media after the expedition. 

Eight activists from Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland who sailed to the Diaoyu Islands to claim them for China appeared on the cover of Asia Weekly as “people of the year”. Lauded as national heroes in the Chinese-language magazine are captain Yeung Hong, vessel owner Lo Chau, Tsang Kin-shing, Koo Sze-yiu, Wong Fah-man, Lo Chung-cheong, Ng Shek-yiu from Macau and Fang Xiaosong from the mainland.

The activists have “changed the course of history in China, as well as the power structure in Asia” by their “fearless determination, passion, wisdom and action", said the report.

A total of 14 people embarked on a voyage aboard fishing vessel Kai Fung No 2 on August 12 to assert Chinese sovereignty over the disputed islands. They made a triumphant return to Tsim Sha Tsui 11 days later after encountering drama with Japanese authorities near the islands.

Seven members of the group managed to land on the main island and pitch China's national flag - the first time since 1996. All seven were profiled by Asia Weekly; Wong, who stayed on the boat, was commended for carrying the national flag.

Asia Weekly's first 2013 edition commended their efforts and briefly profiled each of the eight activists.

The 4,500-word report took Kai Fung No 2 as a point of departure and touched on issues such as patriotism, the wave of anti-Japan mass protests in mainland cities in September, cross-strait relations and Sino-Japan relations.

“The voyagers presented a pure patriotic emotion,” said the report. “Although the activists are from the grass roots, they were able to sail across the waves of political diplomatic storms.”

They “overturned Japan’s practice of nationalising the Diaoyu Islands”.

The report also made comments about China’s patriotism. “More and more internet users are starting to question the level of corruption hidden beneath the surface of China’s ‘patriotism’.”

“How can we talk of China’s patriotism when the sons and daughters of high officials are all shunning their obligations and enjoying their lives overseas?"

In September, tensions over China and Japan's competing territorial claims on the Diaoyus spilled over into rowdy anti-Japanese protests in mainland cities. Beijing clamped down on the rallies soon after.

The Asia Weekly report coined the term “rational patriotism” and rendered the violent protests in September to have “polluted the purity of patriotism”.

It concluded that the voyage embodied “new hopes for China’s national sovereignty, dignity and political reform”, and that “Kai Fung No 2 unquestionably remains in everyone’s heart”.

*December 15 2012

Former U.S. Official: Don’t Mistake Support on South China Sea By Brian Spegele

A former senior U.S. defense official viewed as a possible successor to Leon Panetta as defense secretary said the Philippines has recently mistaken U.S. renewed engagement in the region as an opportunity to more assertively pursue territorial claims against China. 

Michèle Flournoy, who served as undersecretary for defense policy until February 2012, said last month while the U.S. needed to send clear signals of support for its allies in the region, it also needed to ensure that support didn’t lead allies to act provocatively. 

Naming the Philippines specifically, she said there was a risk of Manila “mistaking U.S. support for an opportunity to be much more assertive in staking their claims. I think we have to be careful that we don’t feed that dynamic.” The comments by Ms. Flournoy came during a question-and-answer session at Australian National University on Nov. 29. Video of the remarks was posted on YouTube this week. “I do think there is a danger of some of our friends occasionally misreading, or miscalculating, in terms of the support that they have from the United States,” Ms. Flournoy added. 

Tensions between China and the Philippines escalated rapidly this year over longstanding territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Many feared a prolonged spring standoff between Chinese and Philippine government vessels in the sea’s disputed Scarborough Shoal would trigger conflict. The standoff eventually drew down peacefully, but revived questions over what the U.S. would do in the event of an armed China-Philippines clash. 

The U.S. is obligated to protect the Philippines by a 1951 mutual-defense pact. It remains unclear, however, whether a conflict in disputed territory would trigger the U.S. to act in defense of its Asian ally. The U.S. has repeatedly said it doesn’t take sides in territorial disputes, a point Ms. Flournoy reiterated during her Australia comments. The sea is claimed in whole or in part by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. It’s home to critical shipping lanes and is also believed to hold rich oil-and-gas deposits. Estimates on resource deposits vary widely, anywhere from 28 billion barrels of oil or less to as much as 213 billion barrels, according to some accounts. The ongoing tensions, however, have stunted resource development in the South China Sea.

*December 14 2012

China submits oceanic claims to United Nations By Associated Press in Beijing

China provided the United Nations with detailed claims to waters in the East China Sea on Friday, apparently padding out its legal argument in an ongoing territorial dispute with Japan.

The Foreign Ministry said it submitted documents claiming waters extending beyond its 370-kilometre exclusive economic zone. It said geological features dictated that China’s claim extended to the edge of the continental shelf off the Chinese coast, about 200 kilometres from Japan’s Okinawa Island.

A statement posted to the Foreign Ministry’s website gave no specifics, but China had pledged to make such a submission shortly after Japan angered China by buying the islands from their private Japanese owners. Violent anti-Japanese protests then broke out across China to assert what many Chinese believe is their country’s ages-old claim on the rocky outcrops, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Taiwan also claims it. 

China’s move is a way for it to underscore its claim, but will have little real impact. The U.N. commission to which it submitted its claim, which comprises geological experts, evaluates the markers on technical grounds but has no authority to resolve overlapping claims.

The U.N. submission represents one aspect of China’s approach to the dispute. Another involves dispatching vessels to patrol in the area and confront Japanese Coast Guard ships.

On Thursday, China for the first time dispatched a plane over the islands, prompting Tokyo to accuse it of violating Japanese air space. Japan’s Defense Agency said eight Japanese F-15 jets headed to the area in response, but the nonmilitary Chinese plane was nowhere to be seen by the time they got there. The Foreign Ministry said a formal protest was sent to the Chinese government through its embassy in Japan.

The islands lie in a strategic location between Japan and Taiwan, and the surrounding waters hold rich fish stocks and a potential wealth of oil, gas and other minerals.

The area China claims overlaps with Japan’s exclusive economic zone and includes undersea natural gas deposits that China at one time had pledged to tap jointly with Japan. Such joint measures have since been shelved by Beijing.

*December 3 2012

Editorial - by World Journal Newspaper United States Edition (World Journal Newspaper is a Taiwanese based Newspaper - Taiwan is a close friend of the United States) Diaoyu Islands and Hawaii

US Secretary Hillary Clinton during a Q & A in China was asked "If China (the reporter probably meant Native Hawaiian) want Hawaii to be independent from the United States, what should they do" "They should appeal to the International Court, United States will let the International Court to decide"....

*December 2 2012

US Senate's backing for Japan's control of Diaoyus attacked By Minnie Chan and Agence France-Presse in Washington 

Senate vote on commitment to Tokyo over disputed islands 'will backfire', says Xinhua

The US Senate's backing last week for Japan's administration of the disputed East China Sea islands will only escalate tensions between Beijing and Tokyo, Chinese analysts say.

Beijing has yet to officially respond, but Xinhua yesterday carried a commentary that said the senators' attempt to "fish in troubled waters will not succeed".

The senate's backing for Tokyo, through a vote on a legal amendment, has been widely covered in mainland media, prompting comments by Chinese internet users attacking the United States for interfering.

The US Senate unanimously backed the amendment, introduced by a long-time critic of China, Democrat senator Jim Webb. The measure notes that while the US "takes no position" on the ultimate sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands, which Japan calls the Senkakus, it "acknowledges the administration of Japan over the Senkaku Islands". It also notes that "unilateral actions of a third party" would not affect US acknowledgement of Japan's administration of the islands.

It reaffirms the US commitment to Japan under the Treaty of Mutual Co-operation and Security and warns that an armed attack against either party "in the territories under the administration of Japan" would be met in accordance with its provisions.

In September Kurt Campbell, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told a Senate sub-committee that the 1960 treaty obliged the US to come to Japan's aid if attacked.

Xinhua's commentary said the senators were pouring oil on a fire and "trying to contain China, which had claimed sovereignty over the Diaoyus", but that Thursday's vote would backfire.

The vote was the top item on mainland news portals yesterday. On sohu.com the story had attracted more than 270,000 clicks and more than 62,000 messages criticising the US.

Liu Jiangyong , a professor of international relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said the senate's decision would only stoke tensions. He said if the US president, Barack Obama, signed the amendment into law, it would have "grave consequences for Sino-US and Sino-Japanese relations".

"It is sowing tension and will put Beijing and Tokyo at loggerheads," Liu said. "Japan is not the sole country controlling the waters off the Diaoyu Islands. Our coastguard vessels and fishing boats have entered the archipelago's waters as part of China's sovereignty declaration."

The amendment was attached to the National Defence Authorisation Act for the 2013 financial year, which the senate is still debating.

Japan's Kyodo News reported that the Senate's decision was intended to keep China's moves to assert its claim in check.

Richard Hu, an associate professor in the University of Hong Kong's politics and public administration department, said China still had time to lobby against the amendment. "China has enough time to use its political influence by putting pressure on the White House, lobbying US congressmen and using other measures to stop it from being passed," Hu said.

US move on Diaoyu Islands to be backfire - Special: China-Japan row over Diaoyu Islands By Xinhua

As ties between China and Japan plunge to their lowest in decades over territorial dispute, an amendment passed by the US Senate to make the Diaoyu Islands covered by a US-Japan security pact will boomerang.

The US Senate approved the amendment on Thursday to acknowledge application of a US-Japan security treaty to the Diaoyu Islands. The measure was interpreted by Japan's Kyodo News as "intended to keep China's moves to assert its claim in check."

Although the measure, attached to the national defense authorization bill for 2013, has yet to be approved by the US House and signed by President Barack Obama, it could embolden the Japanese rightists to continue defying the international order established after World War II.

The amendment is sending a disturbing message to the world that the US Senate does not want the row over the Diaoyu Islands to subside. Instead, it is seeking an escalation of the territorial dispute in the coming year, and heralding a downward spiral of the China-Japanese relations.

However, the lopsided move will impair the much-hyped US pivot to Asia strategy, depriving Washington of the chance to gain advantages achieved by a peaceful and prosperous Asia.

Prosperity only comes from peace and stability. There will be no regional prosperity if both China and Japan's commitment to development is disturbed by deteriorating relations, let along regional peace and stability if Japan is allowed to challenge the world order and resort to militarism.

The United States benefits from the Chinese and Japanese economies, which are highly interdependent. Surely the Sino-Japanese economic and trade ties will bear the brunt of a prolonged dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, thus thwarting the anemic US economic recovery.

For Washington, to stir up territorial disputes between Asian countries may, in short term, facilitate its pivot to Asia strategy. However, the act, which encourages confrontation rather than cooperation, will not serve the long-term US interests in Asia.

Asia and the Pacific are big enough for both China and the United States. The Asia-Pacific, one of the most dynamic regions, welcomes any country willing to promote and share its peace and prosperity. However, the participant must respect the sovereignty of countries in the region and honor its taking-no-position promise.

Neither the US Senate nor the Japanese rightists can change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands are Chinese inherent territory since ancient times.

Also, the China's determination to defend its territorial sovereignty should never be underestimated. The attempt by the US Senate to muddy the waters over the Diaoyu Island dispute will backfire against itself.

*November 20  2012

United States 'will not take sides on disputes' on the South China Seas and Diaoyu Islands disputes By Qin Jize in Phnom Penh and Li Xiaokun in Beijing

US President Barack Obama meets Premier Wen Jiabao at the Peace Palace in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, on Tuesday. 

US President Barack Obama assured Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday that Washington will not take sides on issues concerning sovereignty and territorial disputes.

The two leaders, meeting on the fringes of the East Asia summit in Cambodia, also confirmed Beijing and Washington's commitment to continue enhancing relations. The meeting followed this month's power transfer in the Communist Party of China and the US election.

Meetings involving the leaders of China and the US are the focus of global attention as both countries are increasingly engaged in the region, and Washington follows its Asia-pivot policy.

Chinese experts said the remarks implied the general direction of policies that Beijing and Washington will follow.

Obama said "the US expects to solve regional hotspot issues peacefully. The US will not take sides on issues concerning sovereignty and territorial disputes", according to a press release in Chinese issued by the Foreign Ministry.

The remarks come against the backdrop of several US allies and partners in Asia, including Japan, expecting US support in territorial disputes with China, that escalated this year.

The US is convinced that China's peaceful rise and success is crucial to world security and prosperity, Obama said.

Washington expects existing mechanisms, including the Strategic and Economic Dialogue to continue, Obama said. He also called for the drawing up of a detailed roadmap for US-China ties over the next four years.

Wen said China is at a key stage of development and needs a long-term peaceful and stable environment. "China will continue to be a responsible major country that loves and maintains peace,'' he said.

Wen said he hopes both countries will pursue partnership. "We should solve difficulties and differences through large-scale economic and financial cooperation."

"We will continue to enhance communication and consultation on international and regional issues, especially in the Asia-Pacific region," Wen said.

Obama said that, as the world's two largest economies, China and the US had a "special responsibility" to work together to ensure sustained and balanced growth and to establish "clear rules of the road" on trade and investment. "It is important that our two countries cooperate to build a more secure and prosperous future for the Asia-Pacific region and for the world," he said.

Niu Jun, an expert on US studies at Peking University, said as both China and the US have completed a crucial period for their respective leaderships, "the remarks of Wen and Obama reflect the main direction of policies for the next term''.

"And apparently the key will be seeking deeper cooperation, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.''

Besides, the remarks showed both countries are clear that the main part of their cooperation will be on economic and trade affairs, Niu said, adding however the two countries have different concerns.

"Washington is asking for the standardized operation of Chinese enterprises, while Beijing is seeking new points of cooperation.''

Jia Xiudong, a senior researcher on international affairs at the China Institute of International Studies, said both countries should abide by economic and trade rules but the rules should not unjustly penalize China or be adopted by the US unilaterally.

The US launched several rounds of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probes on Chinese goods this year.

After an 11-month investigation, the US House Intelligence Committee issued a report in October that characterizes two leading Chinese telecom equipment firms, Huawei and ZTE, as potential threats to US security because of the committee's belief that the companies are "too closely tied to the Chinese government''. The report failed to present any concrete evidence.

China's largest machinery maker, Sany Group, also vowed last month that it will "fight to the very end" in a lawsuit it filed against Obama after the president blocked a wind farm project citing national security concerns. "In these cases, the so-called US rules are unfair and have been used for protectionism," Jia said.

"Premier Wen mentioned using large-scale economic and financial cooperation to solve difficulties and differences, the wording is quite fresh,'' he said.

China is seeking to reach the target by "making the cake bigger", through various means, including expanding trade and economic cooperation as well as deepening cooperation in the international financial system, such as at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Jia said.

*October 16  2012

China's former Japan envoy Chen Jian accuses US of exploiting territorial rows By Teddy Ng

Former Chinese ambassador to Japan says Washington should distance itself from Tokyo. A former Chinese ambassador to Japan has accused the United States of using China's territorial disputes to expand its own influence in the region.

Chen Jian, who was posted in Tokyo between 1998 and 2001, said yesterday that the US had been "exploiting contradictions among countries of the region" as tensions run high between China and its neighbours, especially Japan, with which Beijing contests islands in the East China Sea.

"It is no longer a secret that it is in the US interest for countries in this region to quarrel with China, but not to fight with China," Chen, who is dean of Renmin University's school of international relations, said during a talk at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong.

His remarks come amid continued sabre-rattling between Beijing and Tokyo over control of the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan. The long-running row boiled over last month after Japan's prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, announced his government's purchase of the islands from their private Japanese owner.

Yesterday four China marine surveillance ships were again spotted near the islands. The State Oceanic Administration said they were carrying out "expulsion measures" against nearby Japan Coast Guard ships.

One of the ships displayed an electronic message board informing the Japanese ships they were in China's territorial waters and ordering them to leave, Kyodo News reported. A Japan Coast Guard spokesman said ships from each side flashed signs at the other demanding they leave.

Beijing argues that Tokyo took the islands, along with Taiwan, during the first Sino-Japanese war in 1895 and should have returned them after losing the second world war. Tokyo contends its claim to the islands pre-dates the earlier war.

Chen blamed the US, which administered the Diaoyus for a quarter century after the second world war, for setting a "time bomb" in 1971, when it handed control over the islands to Japan. Washington was now using the resulting tension to aid its military "pivot" towards the region.

"Japan is now being used by the US as a strategic point for its return to Asia," Chen said. "The US is urging Japan to play a greater role in the region in security terms, not just in economic terms, which suit the purpose of right-wing groups in Japan."

He said the US was trying to restrain China's growing influence and warned Beijing to be cautious because the perceived backing from Washington could cause some countries to "carry their quarrel with China too far".

Last month US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for "cooler heads" on both sides to seek a peaceful resolution to the dispute. Last year she said the US backed a three-way meeting between Beijing, Tokyo and Washington.

Chen said the US should put more distance between itself and Japan and press Tokyo to come to the negotiating table. Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said yesterday that Japan wanted a peaceful resolution.

Chen also said it would be "unwise" for Japanese politicians to further provoke China. He said that Beijing was doing enough to protect the nation's sovereignty, but called for continued communication between the two sides to prevent an inadvertent clash.

*October 16  2012

Ex-diplomat says Sino-Japanese rift part of American agenda Julian Ryall in Tokyo

Ukeru Magosaki, left, says US plotted fall of Yukio Hatoyama, center, and Ichiro Ozawa

A former Japanese diplomat has accused the United States of manipulating Japan since the second world war in order to "eliminate" prime ministers who sought to develop better relations with Beijing.

Ukeru Magosaki, who also served as the head of the Foreign Ministry's Intelligence and Analysis Bureau, has recently written a book that has soared to the top of Japan's bestseller lists.

The book - Sengoshi no Shotai (The Truth Behind Post-war History) - states that the US will never remove its military bases from Japanese territory, no matter how much public outcry there is. Magosaki also said he believes that certain factions in the US would even like to see Japan develop nuclear weapons.

"In the book, I divide Japanese leaders into two groups; those who have wanted to pursue independent foreign policies and those who have just followed US instructions and policies," Magosaki said in Tokyo yesterday.

"Those in the first group were not welcomed by the US government and were usually quickly eliminated from the post of prime minister."

This was not achieved directly by Washington, he claimed, but through subtle influence over key politicians, the media, government officials and senior executives of major companies.

A spokeswoman for the US embassy in Tokyo declined to comment on the allegations made in Magosaki's book.

To achieve its control of Japan's political processes, Washington has interfered with media coverage, encouraged opposition parties, twisted public opinion and even brought down governments by "eliminating" key cabinet members, Magosaki claims.

Two of the Japanese politicians who he claims have been hounded for their independent thoughts have been Yukio Hatoyama, who lasted less then nine months as prime minister until June 2010, and Ichiro Ozawa, whose reputation has been tarnished by a financial scandal and a legal case.

Magosaki believes that had Hatoyama remained in power, the government would not be making moves to restart Japan's nuclear reactors - shut down in the aftermath of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant - and would not have gone ahead with raising the consumption tax or deploying US military Osprey aircraft to Okinawa.

These issues, along with the ongoing debate over the Diaoyu-Senkaku islands and the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade discussions, are all closely connected with Washington's global geopolitical interests, Magosaki said.

The US was "encouraging politicians like [national policy minister Seiji] Maehara to take action against China as that has a benefit for the US," he said.

And while business interests in the US may want closer co-operation with China, the US government was pursuing what Magosaki termed an "offshore balancing strategy" under which neighboring nations - he named South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan - are encouraged to pursue actions to constrain China and its growing regional influence.

"The Senkaku [Diaoyu] issue is part of that strategy," he said.

"Today, in the US, there are some people who want Japan to have a nuclear bomb.

"This is related to balancing strategy, to counter China by using Japan's military power.

"From China's point of view, Yoshihiko Noda has been the worst prime minister they could have had and they feel there can be no trust" between the two governments, Magosaki said. "That means that anyone who replaces him will be welcome."

*October 12  2012

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) splashes out for Diaoyutai ads in US newspapers By William Lowther

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration spent an estimated half million US dollars to place full page advertisements in four leading US newspapers on Wednesday, which coincided with Double Ten National Day. Heavy, dense and filled with hard-to-read type, the identical ads took the form of a closely argued 10-point claim to the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台). They ended with an appeal to the US government and people to support Ma’s peace initiative.

According to newspaper sources, the three-color ads cost about US$175,000 in the Wall Street Journal; US$150,000 in the New York Times; US$100,000 in the Washington Post and US$75,000 in the Los Angeles Times.

Known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, the islands have been under Tokyo’s control since 1972, but are also claimed by Taipei and Beijing.

The ads were headed: “The Republic of China (Taiwan) Proposes: The East China Sea Peace Initiative,” and said that a major dispute with potentially grave consequences “to regional peace and economic prosperity” was now raging around the islands.

Steps to reduce tension and foster peace need to be taken immediately, the ads said. They detailed Ma’s two-stage East China Sea peace initiative, based on the concept that while sovereignty is indivisible, “resources can be shared.” The initiative calls on China and Japan to join Taiwan in shelving territorial disputes through negotiations, formulating a Code of Conduct in the East China Sea and engaging in joint development of resources.

“Over the long run, we can move from three parallel tracks of bilateral dialogue (between Taiwan and Japan, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, and Japan and the mainland) to one track of trilateral negotiations,” the ads read.

They called for five key actions — development of an East China Sea code of conduct; joint conservation and management of living resources; joint exploration and exploitation of the non-living resources; joint marine scientific research and protection of the maritime environment and joint exercises to maintain conventional and unconventional security.

The ads were placed by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York.

*October 8  2012 

爭端持續發酵?中日知識產權會議押後 「習李任內奪回釣島」 星島日報












「中日曾認為釣島是小問題」 星島日報







*October 3  2012 

Washington does not accept Japan's claims to Diaoyu Islands By Zhao Shengnan


A US Congressional report said Washington has never recognized Japan's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands and takes no position over the territorial row between Japan and China.

The report, published on Sept 25 by the Congressional Research Service, said the US recognizes only Japan's administrative power over the Diaoyu Islands after the Okinawa Reversion Treaty was signed in 1971.

China-Japan relations hit the lowest point in years after Tokyo's so-called purchase of the Diaoyu Islands on Sept 10, a move sparking wide protest across China. The islands have been Chinese territory for centuries.

During Senate deliberations on whether to consent to the ratification of the treaty, the US State Department asserted that the US took a neutral position with regard to the competing claims of Japan and China, despite the US' return of the islands to Japanese administration.

"Department officials asserted that reversion of administrative rights to Japan did not prejudice any claims to the islands," said the report from the Congress' think tank, the public-policy research arm of the US Congress.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Monday said he noted the US' neutral position on the Diaoyu Islands in the report and added he hopes the US will "walk the talk".

Analysts said the report, which reflects the Obama administration's stance over the territorial row between its ally and China, is an effort to ease the escalating tension but can hardly change the US' Japan-tilt policy.

However, according to the report, the Diaoyu Islands fall under the scope of the 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty since 1972, which stipulates that the US is bound to protect "the territories under the administration of Japan".

Under the treaty, the US guarantees Japan's security in return for the right to station US troops — about 50,000 — in dozens of bases throughout the Japanese archipelago.

Washington has been ambiguous on the Diaoyu Islands issue as it supports Tokyo with the US-Japan Security Treaty, but has warned Tokyo not to break the "red line" of China or cause large-scale conflicts, said Feng Wei, an expert on Japanese studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Both Japan and the US have made some compromises in front of China's all-round countermeasures over the issue, and "Washington is especially worried that the China-Japan territorial dispute could threaten US and Japan's economy as well as the Asia-Pacific stability amid its strategic pivot to the region", he said.

On Friday, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba delivered a written statement to Taiwan saying that the Japanese government hopes to resume talks on fishing in the waters in the East China Sea.

But at the same time, two US aircraft carrier strike groups have been deployed since mid-September to the Western Pacific in an apparent attempt to keep the activities of the Chinese military in check and as a response to China's launch of its first aircraft carrier at the end of September, Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun said on Oct 6.

Hong told a regular news conference that Chinese marine surveillance ships and fishery patrol ships will continue their official duties in waters near the Diaoyu Islands, which are under China's jurisdiction.

Fishery authorities said on Saturday that five fishery patrol ships were in the area during the National Day holiday from Sept 30 through Sunday to continue their patrol missions. Four Chinese marine surveillance ships also arrived in the waters on Oct 2.

"Safeguarding China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests is the Chinese military's sacred duty," Hong said.

He also once again urged Tokyo to correct its mistakes and return to negotiations to resolve the dispute, as well as to strictly comply with the one-China policy and properly handle relevant issues.

In sensitive situations like this, favoring one party helps little in de-escalating a potentially violent conflict, Mike Honda, a Japanese-American and US representative for California, said on his blog earlier this month.

"If this conflict becomes violent on the East China Sea, we will see shipping thwarted, more factories closed, costs of imports climb and other foreign policy decisions affected," he said.

Liu Yedan contributed to this story.

*October 3  2012 

IMF chief speaks on Diaoyutais, as ships flock nearby - Japan will jeopardize the fragile global economy if they keep fighting, the IMF head said By J Michael Cole

The shaky global economy needs Japan and China to be fully engaged, the head of the IMF said recently, warning the world could not afford to have the two countries distracted by their bitter territorial dispute.

Speaking to Japanese media ahead of the fund’s annual meeting in Tokyo next week, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the two had to show a bit of neighborly tolerance for the good of everybody.

“Both China and Japan are key economic drivers that do not want to be distracted by territorial division,” Kyodo News agency quoted Lagarde as saying in Washington, in an interview published yesterday.

China and Japan, the world’s second and third-largest economies, have been at loggerheads for months over the Diaoyutai Islands (
釣魚台), in the East China Sea.

Tokyo administers the chain under the name Senkakus, but they are also claimed by Beijing and Taipei.

Chinese government ships regularly venture into waters around the islands, ignoring orders to leave from the Japanese coastguard.

Three such maritime surveillance ships entered territorial waters off the islands for the second straight day yesterday, Japanese coast guards said.

The three ships were off Kubashima islet, but left the immediate area soon after 3pm, the Japanese coast guard said.

The increasing frequency of spats comes ahead of next week’s IMF and World Bank meetings in Tokyo — the world’s largest single gathering of finance officials, bankers and non-government organizations.

Dow Jones Newswires reported on Tuesday that several big Chinese banks had canceled their participation in events connected to the meetings, in what it said was a sign of the row spreading into the economic realm.

Most of the banks have not given a reason for their last-minute pullouts, but one unidentified person was explicit:

“Quite frankly, it’s Japan-China relations,” Dow Jones quoted an official at the Tokyo branch of the Agricultural Bank of China as saying.

In related news, two of the US Navy’s global force aircraft carrier strike groups are currently patroling the Western Pacific within distance of the South and East China Seas, providing “a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the United States and its allies and partners,” the US Seventh Fleet said.

US Navy officials said the USS George Washington carrier strike group had begun operating near the East China Sea while the John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG), led by the USS John C. Stennis carrier, is now operating near the South China Sea, also the scene of sovereignty disputes involving China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

US Pacific Command (PACOM) said the JCSSG paid a scheduled port visit at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, on Sunday. This was the first visit by a US carrier in Sabah, which adjoins the South China Sea.

In addition, the USS Bonhomme Richard forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, with about 2,000 US Marines on board, is said to be operating in the Philippine Sea.

All three carrier battle groups were in joint live-fire exercises with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces last month near Guam.

A PACOM spokesman said the exercises and deployments were not necessarily related to the Diaoyutais dispute.

*October 2  2012 

Japan picks wrong time to test Beijing By Leslie Fong

Leslie Fong says by buying the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, at a time when a power struggle is straining nerves in China, Tokyo may be unwisely giving Beijing a reason to assert itself.

What are the chances of war breaking out between Japan and China over their competing claims of sovereignty over the tiny islands which the former call Senkaku and the latter Diaoyu? This was the question posed by a junior Japanese parliamentarian to a respected political grandee from the pre-war era. They were soaking in a private onsen two hours' drive from Tokyo. The young man had secured the meeting with the sensei - the respectful term used to address very senior figures in Japanese politics - through his grand-uncle.

The old man replied: "Tokyo has already thrown down the gauntlet by rushing to buy the islands from their private owner in the face of strong protests by both Beijing and Taipei. This is really pushing our luck. We may get away with it this last time but any further move which strikes the Chinese as even greater provocation is certain to leave them feeling their backs are to the wall. They will push back - their masses, already not too happy with us Japanese, will demand they push back - and then things will spin out of control.

"So, an all-out war, most probably not. But serious armed clashes, leading to substantial loss of lives, cannot be ruled out."

The young man said: "But, sensei, we were briefed at a party caucus last week that the purchase was to pre-empt Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara and his supporters from creating more trouble. They were talking of holding events on these islands and installing a weather station. Now that will really rile the Chinese, which is why Tokyo has to stop them. Can't the Chinese see that?"

The old man said: "Kato-kun, that's what your party leaders would say. But do you think the Chinese will swallow that?"

"But why not? Surely the Chinese will understand that with an election looming, that's the best Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda can do without getting the right-wing hawks on the warpath."

The sensei said: "See it from Beijing's perspective. It's heads we win and tails they lose. Even if it were true that the intention was to stymie Ishihara, the end result is we Japanese will come out winners. We will have asserted our sovereignty, never mind that our rhetoric is that we seek only to obtain and hold those islands, not nationalise them."

Kato said: "But those islands are ours."

The sensei said: "I am not so sure the facts are on our side. The Chinese cite Ming dynasty records from the mid-14th century to show Senkaku and other islands in the Ryukyu chain, including Okinawa, were already declaring allegiance to the Son of Heaven, not us, as vassal states. These annals are in a museum in Britain.

"We have nothing to show. We only took those islands by force just before the first Sino-Japanese war and bullied the Qing dynasty into ceding them as well as Taiwan to us under the 1895 Shimonoseki treaty after we won that war. Then came the second world war. In 1943, when the tide was turning against us and Germany, the Allied Powers, including China, met in Cairo and on December 1 issued a declaration, which, among other things, stipulated that once Japan was defeated, all that we had taken by force must be returned to the original owners.

"And on July 26, 1945, the same Allied Powers plus the Soviet Union issued another declaration reaffirming what was agreed in Cairo. Well, Kato-kun, we lost, didn't we? After we surrendered, we had to give up Taiwan, Penghu and so on, but for reasons I still cannot pinpoint, Nationalist China under Chiang Kai-shek did not take back the Ryukyu chain but agreed to joint administration with the United States.

"Maybe by that time the Yanks already had more than an inkling that the communists would soon take over China and wanted Okinawa, Senkaku and others to be part of the so-called first island chain encircling China, as part of a containment strategy. Then on November 21, 1969, Richard Nixon and our prime minister at the time, Eisaku Sato, came to an agreement in Washington to revert the administration of the Ryukyu chain to us, but with the proviso that the Americans would have the right to station forces on Okinawa. And on May 15, 1972, the islands were handed over to Tokyo. Of course both Beijing and Taipei protested loudly.

"This is why to this day, the US is careful to assert its neutrality on the issue of sovereignty, though in the very next breath, it tells the world that should war break out, Japan would be covered by the 1952 defence treaty it signed with the US."

Kato spoke up: "But does China really want to fight over 6.3 square kilometres of barren rocks?"

The sensei said: "It's not the islets and the much talked about mineral wealth beneath the surrounding seas. It's their national honour, which they cannot allow to be tarnished, especially by us Japanese who invaded them so brutally.

"Moreover, the Chinese think we have stabbed them in the back. When prime minister Kakuei Tanaka went to Beijing in 1972 to re-establish diplomatic relations, it was agreed that the dispute over sovereignty would be set aside for future resolution. In 1978, when Deng Xiaoping came to Tokyo, he made that famous remark that resolution was best left to wiser heads in later generations. A long period of calm between us followed until Ishihara and others of his ilk started agitating.

"This is absolutely the wrong time to test Beijing! China is on the rise and the Chinese political elite are in the midst of a difficult leadership change. History has shown that, sometimes, an emerging power needs to assert itself against an existing power. In 1898, the US beat the living daylights out of the exhausted Spanish empire, ostensibly over Cuban independence. The Spaniards didn't want to fight but the Yanks needed to prove they were the next global power to be reckoned with, and went ahead to clobber them anyway.

"In 1904, we did the same. Japan shocked the world by whacking Imperial Russia on land and at sea and thereafter became the hegemon in Korea and the Liaodong Peninsula.

"Leaders also start wars when they feel their personal power and position are being challenged or when they need assurance or a distraction. By 1962, Mao Zedong had already started to feel he was being sidelined by his comrades after the disastrous Great Leap Forward and other campaigns. So he made use of a border dispute with India and launched a short war against the Indians, thrashing them decisively and assuring himself of total control over the People's Liberation Army.

"In 1979, after Deng's third rehabilitation, he needed to make sure the PLA was entirely obedient to his command. So he launched a campaign against the Vietnamese. His dictum then was that a naughty boy would have to be spanked if he misbehaved. There were of course other factors that led Mao and Deng to press the button, but don't ever underestimate the personal factor. So, now, when Xi Jinping is slated to take over from Hu Jintao, who is probably reluctant to let go of his grip over the military, and a power struggle seems to be going on, Tokyo wants to give them the catharsis they need?"

Kato took all that in. Then he exclaimed: "But no one will win if we and the Chinese start shooting!"

"Are you sure?" replied the sensei as he made his way out of the onsen, whistling The Star-Spangled Banner.

Leslie Fong, a former editor of The Straits Times, is senior executive vice-president for marketing at Singapore Press Holdings. Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. This is a shortened version of an article first published in The Straits Times on September 15. 


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