Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday criticized China for what he termed its bid to “change the status quo by force” in terms of its relations with Japan and other Asian nations.
Such an approach is “wrong,” Abe said on a television program, referring to the ongoing tensions being generated by the Senkakus dispute and other maritime rifts involving China in the region.
“Japan and China have indivisible relations, and the two countries must solve problems through dialogue,” Abe said, pressuring Beijing to ease its conditions for holding a bilateral summit.
China is said to be demanding that Tokyo acknowledge the existence of a bilateral territorial dispute and shelve the issue involving the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by China as Diaoyu and by Taiwan as Tiaoyutai. Japan maintains no dispute exists as the islets are legally and historically part of Japan.
“It is wrong as a diplomatic stance to reject holding a summit meeting because conditions are not met,” Abe said. He said he is urging China and other nations to respect the “rule of law” in solving any maritime dispute.
His remarks came after the recent revelation that a large Chinese crane ship is building a drilling facility in the ocean at a point near the Japan-claimed border between the two countries’ exclusive economic zones.
On Sunday, the Japan Coast Guard said three Chinese maritime surveillance vessels entered Japanese territorial waters in the morning near the Senkakus.
The Haijian No. 23, Haijian No. 49 and Haijian No. 5001 were spotted cruising near the Japan-controlled islets at around 9:30 a.m., the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, said.
The coast guard warned the Chinese ships not to enter Japanese territorial waters, but the Haijian No. 5001 responded both in Chinese and Japanese that it was “conducting a regular patrol under Chinese law,” the coast guard said.
H.K. activists plan landing
Hong Kong-based activists who succeeded last year in landing a crew on the uninhabited Senkaku Islands plan to make another try next month to assert China’s sovereignty over the Japan-controlled chain, the group’s leader said Saturday.
Lo Chau, who commanded the boat last August that sailed to the islets, claimed by China as Diaoyu and by Taiwan as Tiaoyutai, said the activists will repair it and apply for a sailing license so they can set sail Aug. 15.
“We plan to set sail again on the one-year anniversary,” said Lo, chairman of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands. “If the government does not drag (its) feet, we should have enough time to fix the boat and go.”
However, the Hong Kong government’s ban on the boat sailing either in or outside Hong Kong’s waters, remains in place.
“If (authorities) try to block us from leaving Hong Kong waters again, we will break through like we did last year,” Lo said.
On Aug. 15 last year, the group’s boat managed to elude Hong Kong police and Japan Coast Guard vessels and sail close enough for some of the activists to land on Uotsuri, the largest of the five main islets in the Senkaku group. The activists unfurled Chinese and Taiwanese flags before being detained and later deported by Japan.
Lo conceded the activists might need their Taiwan counterparts, the World Chinese Association Defend the Diaoyu Islands, to take over if his group’s boat is blocked from leaving Hong Kong.
On Saturday, about 20 members of Lo’s group protested outside the Japanese Consulate General against Japan’s “invasion” of the islands, which Beijing claims were “stolen” from China in 1895 at the end of the Sino-Japanese War, at which time Tokyo forced the Qing government to sign the humiliating Treaty of Shimonoseki, ceding them and other territories, including Taiwan.
The activists also urged Japanese not to vote for the Liberal Democratic Party in the Upper House election to stop Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from amending the Constitution so he can officially turn the Self-Defense Forces into a standing military.