China bins Japan’s claim of easing tension
Zhang Yunbi and Zhao Shengnan
Publication Date : 31-10-2012
Beijing yesterday hit back at claims by Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba that Tokyo was trying to calm tensions with Beijing over the Diaoyu Islands.
It branded Japan’s “persistent defiance” in the territorial dispute as “self-deception”.
Japan has denied that a territorial dispute exists over the islands, and Gemba said on Tuesday in Tokyo that his government is seeking to calm tensions with China in maintaining its position over the islands.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news conference that Japan’s defiance in the dispute is a total “self-deception”.
He criticised Tokyo for ignoring the previous bilateral consensus that the dispute be shelved.
Hong said that since Japan’s illegal “purchase” of the islands in September, Sino-Japanese relations have witnessed a substantial change, and Beijing urged Tokyo to abandon its illusion of occupying the islands.
China and Russia, both in its territorial row with Japan, on Tuesday held talks on their relations with Japan. Both sides endorsed the importance of safeguarding post-war achievements and international order for sustaining regional and international peace and stability.
Japan illegally stole the islands at the end of 1895 Sino-Japanese War, and key post-war documents have returned the islands to China.
Lu Yaodong, director of the Japanese diplomacy teaching and research section under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Japan’s “flashy language” for diplomacy and “easing tension” are aimed at bluffing the international community, and with little sincerity.
Lu said: “Tokyo’s stance is not as soft as it seems, as hard-line action has been taken to escalate the territorial fray, including it hiking its budget to boost its regional maritime presence.”
Beijing on Monday said there was no plan for Premier Wen Jiabao to meet Japanese leaders during the Asia-Europe Meeting next week in Vientiane.
China’s State Oceanic Administration said that as part of regular patrols to safeguard sovereignty, four Chinese maritime surveillance ships on Tuesday were standing by in territorial waters off the Diaoyu Islands.
Pictures were taken from the vessels as evidence of the illegal actions of Japanese vessels in the waters, and measures were taken to expel the Japanese patrol vessels, it said.
Zhang Haiwen, deputy director of the China Institute for Marine Affairs, said China’s actions were aimed at countering Japan’s illegal entry into the waters, and the Chinese side has been exercising restraint.
The moves to force Japanese ships to withdraw shows Beijing’s determination to guard its sovereignty, and as long as Tokyo refuses to admit its “mistake”, tensions will remain, Zhang said.
Meanwhile, Japan is not losing any chance to publicise its claim to the islands on the international stage, with Japanese media focusing on the issue at the third trilateral dialogue between India, Japan and the United States in New Delhi on Monday.
Tokyo lobbied participants over its stance on the Diaoyu dispute, with Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun saying the desire at the trilateral talks to contain China “seems strong”.
The meeting was held to improve cooperation in combating piracy, maritime security and using the nations’ strengths to shape the Asia-Pacific region, reports said.
Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said China’s ties with the major world players are stable, and the “imaginary trilateral alliance” among the US, India and Japan will have little chance of becoming reality.
“The trilateral collaboration is a typical, temporary cooperation on key international issues, and each of the three has its own pursuits and demands. Their collaborative ties may vary on specific issues,” Ruan said.