HONG KONG – A scholar at a Chinese Foreign Ministry think tank warned Tuesday that Japan’s political turn to the right must be checked before its negative effects spread through the region.
Ruan Zongze, vice president and a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, said during a luncheon address at Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club that Japan is “turning right fast” amid its territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
“What it has done in the Diaoyu Islands issue is more than a territory dispute with China,” he said, suggesting Japan is turning a blind eye to the international agreements made at the conclusion of World War II by claiming that the disputed islands are its territory.
“Today it will jeopardize China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Tomorrow it will do the same to yours if unchecked,” he warned.
China says the uninhabited islets have been Chinese territory since ancient times and accuses Japan of “stealing” them in 1895 at the end of the Sino-Japanese War. It insists Japan, after its defeat in World War II, was obligated by treaties to return them to China.
Japan dismisses those arguments, pointing out that China and Taiwan only began to lay claim to the islands after a survey conducted by a U.N. agency in late 1968 indicated the possible existence of petroleum resources in the surrounding waters.