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Chinese ships shadowed on first anniversary

Japan on high alert year after Senkaku nationalization

AFP-JIJI

The Japan Coast Guard was on high alert Wednesday, a year to the day after the government nationalized the Senkaku Islands, placing the uninhabited East China Sea islets at the center of a bitter dispute with China.

Bilateral relations have soured dramatically over the past 12 months, marked by frequent confrontations between the two nations’ ships.

On Tuesday, the government said it had not ruled out stationing officials on the islets, but Beijing warned in response that Japan “must be prepared to bear the consequences of this provocation.”

“We are on high alert as today marks the first anniversary of the nationalization of the Senkaku Islands,” said Coast Guard official Yuma Miyako.

China said Tuesday it had carried out 59 “patrols” since last September, each time being warned off by Japanese ships. The two nations’ militaries have played cat and mouse in international waters and skies.

Japan says it nationalized the islets to head off a potentially explosive attempt by nationalists, including former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, to buy them, with an eye to development.

The vehemence of Beijing’s response caught the Japanese government off guard, as violent protests erupted across China and diplomatic ties frayed, badly affecting the trade relationship both countries depend on.

The change of government in Japan did little to soothe matters when hawkish nationalist Shinzo Abe was elected prime minister.

On Tuesday, Xinhua News Agency accused Abe of turning a blind eye to the nation’s “beautifying of atrocious wartime crime,” the latest in a long line of tongue-lashings Chinese state media have delivered.

Four of the eight Chinese ships that spent several hours in the islets’ territorial waters on Tuesday remained in the contiguous zone on Wednesday, Japanese officials said.

Contiguous waters are maritime zones adjacent to territorial seas where a coastal state has certain limited rights.

“We are preventing Chinese official ships from entering our territorial waters, with our ships sailing very close to the Chinese ships,” Coast Guard official Miyako said.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a nation can evict foreign military ships that enter its territorial waters. However, he said, the rules for official ships, such as coast guards, are unclear.

“So, we are working in line with the Japanese government’s policy of demanding they stay out of our territory,” Miyako said.

On Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government was “considering it as an option,” when asked if Japan would station officials on the islets, but did not elaborate.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing was “gravely concerned” by the remarks.

“China’s resolve to defend the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands is firm, and we will not tolerate the Japanese side taking action to infringe China’s sovereignty,” he said.

  • http://ameblo.jp/cluttered-talk/ Michiko

    Why would China have to send a vessel, is it something they’re going to do voluntary, or delightly?
    Is it funny, or pleasing?
    No, it’s not.
    They have to do it even they don’t like to.
    All because, our government is ruling out to admit an existence of the dispute, which has been shelved under the consents.
    Why would it need to get shelved, because there were already a dispute.
    Why would both agreed to shelve it, because both admitted its existence.
    What is there supposed to happen when China stop sending a vessel, or making a claim?
    That means, China giving up the islets, after being broken the promise, and it is not they can accept nonetheless.
    This is a reason why they’re sending a ship, and which is what our then or present government caused, or worsens.
    And why would the present government is happy to keep it troubling with China than making the conflict dismissed, because it is too easy and convenient for collecting domestic supports, or evading getting accused of their blunders regarding their ruling.

  • http://ameblo.jp/cluttered-talk/ Michiko

    I know why China has to do this, but I recommend her to take another measure at this time, since using force is not good for her to avoid being seen in a wrong direction, such “Great China is bullying little Japan” even it is quite not correct.
    I know a better way for China to make us realize how we’ve done wrong, and this is the right time to get into this final measure.
    China only has to declare that “There’s no more extension of rental term for Panda in Japan supposed to happen”, just do it, that is very sufficient to make ordinary Japanese people noticed, believe me, because I’m one of them thus I know what would work us most.
    Strip Panda from Japanese, just try it.