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Japan urges peaceful action from China, Taiwan

Publication Date : 27-09-2012


In response to recent moves by China and Taiwan, Japan plans to reiterate the legitimacy of its position on the Senkaku Islands (known in China as Diaoyu and in Taiwan as Diaoyutai) at an annual UN meeting and other occasions while calling for cooler heads to prevail.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, who are both in New York for the UN General Assembly meeting, plan to emphasise the importance of a peaceful resolution based on the rule of law and that there is no territorial dispute over the islands in East China Sea, which Japan effectively controls.

The claim regarding rule of law is also aimed at South Korea, which China plans to cooperate with over the respective territorial issue.

During a speech at a UN meeting Monday, Gemba stressed the importance of international courts as a peaceful means to resolving international disputes. As Japan hopes to resolve an ongoing dispute with South Korea over the Takeshima islands (known in South Korea as Dokdo) at the International Court of Justice, Gemba's remark was apparently intended as a message to China and South Korea that any cooperation between the two would hold no validity.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government is also seeking resolution through dialogue.

"We are trying to solve the row through various channels," Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a press conference Tuesday.

During talks in Beijing, Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai urged his Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun to hold a foreign ministerial meeting between the two countries, among other issues. While sources close to the Japanese government said the tone of the meeting had been stark, Kawai reportedly managed to secure China's consent to continuing talks in any form with the hope of breaking the deadlock.

"Taiwan fishermen sailed near the Senkaku Islands because they were concerned they might be banned from fishing around the islands," said Jun Shinmi, deputy director general at the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.

With that in mind, the Japanese government has also paved the way for consultations with Taiwan on the matter.

Tadashi Imai, head of the Interchange Association, the headquarters of Japan's representative office in Taipei, exchanged opinions over fishing agreements and other issues with Taiwan Foreign Minister Timothy Yang on Tuesday.

However, the possibility that Chinese or Taiwan fishing boats will engage in illegal operations near the Senkaku Islands or land on the islands in the future still remains.

The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) is trying to prevent illegal activities by foreign fishing boats through continued warnings and surveillance based on regulatory laws regarding fishing operations by foreign nationals.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Akira Gunji emphasised Japan would take a hard-line attitude toward illegal actions near the islands. "We'll definitely regulate illegal fishing operations," Gunji said after a Cabinet meeting Tuesday.

According to the JCG, there have been no cases in which foreign nationals were arrested for violating the law near the Senkaku Islands, and foreign ships operating near the islands have so far left the area after being issued a warning.

The government has been strengthening regulations aimed at preventing foreign nationals from landing on Japanese territories without permission. The revised Japan Coast Guard Law, which was implemented Tuesday, allows JCG officers to arrest intruders on 19 remote islands, including the Senkaku Islands.


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