Japan, China engage in war of words at ASEM summit

Kyodo

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.