US should not stoke tensions over Diaoyu Islands

Updated: 2012-08-21 14:26


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BEIJING - As tensions between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands have been gravely heightened by Tokyo's egregious provocations, it is advisable that the United States not fan the flame in the region.

On Tuesday, Japanese forces join US Marines in the western Pacific Ocean for a month-long military drill aimed at tackling the scenario of taking back islands occupied by enemy troops.

Though no country was named as the imaginary occupier, an official with the Japanese Ministry of Defense hinted that the war game is targeted at China, according to a report by Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun.

Given the recent flaring tensions over the Diaoyu Islands, the deliberate decision to carry out such an agitative drill serves nothing but fuels the fire, as it will aggravate the situation and jeopardize any future efforts for a peaceful settlement.

The move also gives the lie to Washington's alleged neutral stance towards the China-Japan dispute and gives birth to more suspicion over the United States' true intentions in the Asia-Pacific.

For the record, it is not the first time that the United States rats on its own words on matters concerning China's Diaoyu Islands.

US State Department spokeswomen Victoria Nuland once said the Diaoyu Islands fall into a security and cooperation treaty between Washington and Tokyo. Her remarks undisguisedly indicated whose side the United States is actually on.

As a matter of fact, it was the United States who initially sowed the seeds of the China-Japan spat over the islands decades ago.

Intentionally ignoring the articles written in the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation, which stipulate that Japan must return all lands it usurped during the Second World War, the Nixon administration in 1971 erroneously and unilaterally transferred the administration power of the Diaoyu Islands, an undisputed part of China's territories, to Japan.

Over the years, the Chinese government has consistently denied the legitimacy of such a preposterous and ulterior decision by Washington and demanded the return of these islets.

Never considering to remedy its profound mistake, the United States, since the Obama administration came to power in 2009, has started to expand its involvement in a series of other maritime disputes between China and some southeastern Asian nations in the South China Sea.

By doing so, the United States, despite its denials, is trying to contain China's rapid emergence in the region, and at the same time sending out a clear-cut message that its self-crowned leadership in the Asia-Pacific is never allowed to be challenged.

However, if Washington takes a review of China's long history, it should not be surprised to find that the Chinese people have always been strong and steadfast enough to defend their nation's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Thus rather than paying lip service to its commitment of not choosing side in the disputes, the United States should start to truly respect China's sovereign rights and prevent the thorny situation from spiralling out of control.