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Tokyo must come back 'from the brink'

Publication Date : 13-09-2012

 

Beijing will never recognise 'purchase' of Diaoyu Islands

Beijing urged Tokyo yesterday to immediately cancel its "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands (known in Japan as Senkaku Islands) as senior diplomats from both countries met.

"China will never acknowledge Japan's illegal grab and so-called actual control of the Diaoyu Islands," Luo Zhaohui, director of Chinese Foreign Ministry's department of Asian affairs, told Shinsuke Sugiyama, director-general of the Asian and Oceania Affairs Bureau of Japanese Foreign Ministry, during their meeting in Beijing.

Japanese Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said yesterday that the purchase of the islands from "private owners" was completed on Tuesday, a move that sparked protests and countermeasures from Beijing.

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba rejected the demand from China yesterday and said that Tokyo would "in no way reconsider" its move, Kyodo News Agency said.

Japan illegally grabbed the Diaoyu Islands and affiliated islets, which belong to China, at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895.

Beijing urged Tokyo to "rein in from the brink of the precipice", and get on track toward a resolution through dialogue and negotiation, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said yesterday. Chinese government vessels will continue regular patrols in waters administered by China, Hong told reporters.

Liu Jiangyong, an expert on Japanese studies, said Japan's farcical "purchase" is aimed at extending its reach and projecting an image of so-called actual control over the islands in a bid to mislead the international community that it "owns" the islands.

During the two-day talks that ended yesterday, Luo stressed the strong will and determination of the government and people to safeguard sovereignty.

The Foreign Ministry said both countries will continue to communicate with each other.

Despite Tokyo's recent resort to diplomacy, including appointing a new ambassador to China and sending Sugiyama for talks on Tuesday, the dispute will not be solved unless Tokyo "changes its policy", said Gao Hong, a specialist on Japanese studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said Japan's "purchase" means "the room for a possible diplomatic resolution of the Diaoyu Islands dispute has been drastically squeezed".

Cross-Straits' compatriots have expressed their indignation to the "purchase", said Fan Liqing, spokeswoman of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a yesterday news conference.

"Measures taken by each side of the Straits to safeguard the interests of the entire nation will be supported firmly by all Chinese people," Fan said.

The State Oceanic Administration released yesterday, on its website, a new regulation to protect territorial waters, a move to "ensure the country's maritime interests".

Lu Caixia, director of the island management department at the SOA, told China Daily that the regulation will play an important role in safeguarding the country's maritime interests.

China-Japan ties have been strained since Shintaro Ishihara, the right-wing Tokyo governor, unveiled plans to "buy" the islands in April.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced a plan in July to "nationalise" the islands, a move that prompted immediate protests from Beijing. The diplomatic standoff has led to a series of cancelled visits and exchanges.

Vice-governor of Shandong province Xia Geng cancelled a business trip to Japan, Yan Bo, an official from the foreign affairs office of the provincial government in Shandong confirmed to China Daily.

More Chinese consumers and businesses are boycotting Japanese products and brands.

According to data provided by leading Chinese shopping website Taobao.com, the number of consumers searching for Sony products in the online shop decreased by 15.1 per cent within seven days, with a 3.8 per cent drop for Panasonic and a 2.3 per cent decline for Canon.

Meanwhile, Chinese tourists and officials are cancelling tours to Japan.

Li Meng, deputy general manager of China International Travel Service's outbound tour department, said that about 20 per cent of tourists in the agency have cancelled trips to Japan.

Fan Wusheng, general manager of the Japanese and Korean marketing department with the Nanjing branch of China Comfort Travel Group, said that around 30 per cent of tourists have cancelled the tours.

Feng Wei, a specialist on Japanese studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, warned China-Japan economic ties will worsen if Japan refuses to change its stance over the Diaoyu Islands.

Wang Qian, Zhao Ruixue, Zhang Xiaomin and Song Wenwei contributed to this story.

 

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