Beijing urges Senkaku nationalization reversal


China on Saturday demanded that Japan reverse its nationalization of the Senkakus and address the sovereignty dispute through negotiations, urging Tokyo to “make concrete efforts” to prevent fraught bilateral ties from spiralling out of control.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the sharp deterioration in Sino-Japanese relations was “single-handedly” caused by Japan’s purchase last September of three of the main Senkaku islets, and accused Tokyo of “illegally” seizing and occupying what he termed Chinese territory. The islet group in the East China Sea is administered by Japan but has been claimed by China since the 1970s.

“The Chinese side believes that Japan needs to face up to reality, take real steps to correct its mistakes and work with us to handle and resolve relevant issues through dialogue and consultations, so as to prevent a further escalation of the situation and stop it getting out of control,” Yang said on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

Speaking at a news conference, Yang denounced Japan’s Sept. 11 purchase of the Senkaku islets of Uotsuri, Kitakojima and Minamikojima from a Saitama businessman, which effectively nationalized the entire chain, saying the move has “caused great damage to China-Japan relations and undermined stability in the region.”

“We urge Japan to make concrete efforts to improve its relations with China and play a positive and responsible role toward peace, stability and development” in the Asia-Pacific region, he stressed.

Beijing has been pressing Tokyo to acknowledge that the sovereignty of the Senkakus, known as Diaoyu in China, is in dispute, but Japan continues to maintain that the uninhabited islet cluster is an integral part of its territory and denies the existence of the territorial row.

While censuring Japan for its acquisition of the islets, Yang said that developing “long-term, sound and steady (bilateral) relations” serves “the fundamental interests” of both countries and their people. “The Chinese side is ready to continue to develop a strategic relationship of mutual benefit with Japan,” he said.

Yang is expected to be replaced as foreign minister by new Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the end of the National People’s Congress, which runs through March 17. He will likely be appointed state councilor in charge of foreign affairs.

In late January, Xi, who is about to take over as China’s president from Hu Jintao, told a Japanese delegation from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that he will give serious consideration to holding a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, adding he wants to promote a beneficial Sino-Japanese relationship based on a broad perspective.

  • Christopher-trier

    How typical of China. Call for those who disagree with their official position to stop being “deluded” and to “correct” their behaviour. That is, one must agree with China or else. I wish Japan well. An increasingly bellicose China with a chip on its shoulder and a bizarre sense of entitlement on one side and an increasingly self-destructive, bellicose, demanding United States on the other. Being caught between two countries suffering delusions of their own grandeur and importance brings no happiness.

    • Francis Liew

      How would provocations by Japan over the nationalisation of the islands help in furthering Sino Japanese ties. Remember there was peace before this dastardly act.

      • Sam Gilman

        There was peace – and actually no dispute at all – before the discovery that there might be oil and gas in the waters around the Senkakus. Both Chinas used the Japanese name in official documents, identified the islands as part of the Ryukyu island chain, and had no dispute with Japan over sovereignty. As far as both Chinas were concerned, the islands were part of Japan, given that the Ryukyus were part of Japan.

        Do you believe Okinawa belongs to China?

      • Christopher-trier

        The Chinese were making incursions into the Senkaku Islands before nationalisation — not a dastardly act, simply tidying about a formality. China’s behaviour is utterly contemptible and dastardly. It’s the ugly old head of Chinese Imperial aggression yet again.

  • nosnurbd

    At the end to WW II Japan lost some of its territory, as is “normal” for the loser! The Kurile Islands now controlled by Russia are a prime exhibit, just as Japan gained territory after WW I. Probably because the Senkakus were not recognized as being of significant “value” or of strategic interest they were never mentioned in any documents taking them away from Japn or “giving” them to one of the winners, i.e., Russia or China! A similar thing might be said about Takeshima Islands. Why can’t there be a peaceful resolution of these territorial problems in a friendly and jointly beneficial manner? Basically the economic value of this real estate is what is at stake, so why can’t there be an economic solution in the form of joint development and sharing of the benefits. It would certainly be less troublesome than protracted anger for not getting ones own way and much less costly than a war of any dimension! Some sincere good will would go a long way in resolving this childishness by supposedly “adult” nations!

    • Kohei Imai

      This article has a bias toward China. What Japan has the dominium of Senkaku is guaranteed in the document of Article 2 and 3 in Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 and one of Article 1 in Agreement between Japan and the United States of America Concerning the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands.
      Although Japan has asked China to solve this problem in a peaceful way at the international court, China has dealt with this problem aggressively, for instance Chinese fishermen (or army imitating fishermen) attacked Japanese cog.

      china all of a sudden started to insist the dominium of the island in 1970, after recognition of natural resources around the island and geographic importance in military strategy. This incompatibility is not acceptable from the stance of Japanese.

      • Francis Liew

        Well you know very well what would happen when two sides cannot compromise to settle a dispute. Is that what you want?

    • Francis Liew

      There was a peaceful resolution. PM Deng wanted to set aside. The Japanese renege when they nationalized the islands.

  • StevenStreets

    Demand is a price to be paid. A call to do business. Tell China give up communism and offer a mountain of gold and silver for the lonely dirt before taking anything they say serious. No one wants to act like North Korean idiots.

  • Mark Garrett

    Rock, paper, scissors??

  • Down under

    Delusion is what happens when Japan nationalised a group of disputed islands and expect no reaction from China. The comments here are naturally anti-Chinese.