Japan responsible for escalating tensions

Updated: 2012-08-15 20:37

By Li Bo (Xinhua)

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BEIJING - Tensions concerning territorial disputes between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands have surged to a new high Wednesday, as Japanese authorities flagrantly arrested five activists from Hong Kong who had landed on one of the islands.

The tensions are fully due to irresponsible clamoring and attempts by some Japanese politicians and activists to claim the islands, which are in the East China Sea and indisputably belong to China.

To once again assert China's historically proven sovereignty over the islands, seven activists from Hong Kong landed on one of the islands earlier Wednesday. The effort - the first successful Chinese landing on the territory since 2004 - came despite Japanese patrol boats guarding the islands.

The personal safety of the Chinese activists and their property shouldn't be harmed by the Japanese side, since all they tried to do was only to step foot on part of their motherland.

Numerous Chinese citizens were outraged when they heard Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura say in late March that Japan has registered one of the four islands of Diaoyu as a national asset.

Another Japanese politician, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, in April released even more irresponsible remarks, saying Tokyo taxpayers would buy the islands.

The shocking remarks made by senior Japanese politicians were as stupid as foreigners trying to make deals about a neighbor's property.

When China and Japan signed a joint communique to establish diplomatic relations back in 1972, both nations agreed to be good neighbors and seek a healthy bilateral relationship while putting aside quarrels over the islands.

Japan, however, repeatedly pushed the bilateral relationship to its limits by revising its textbooks and trying to visit the islands in person.

Those provocations have bitten into the ties between the two neighbors, who should have enjoyed a smoother relationship and better exchanges.

China has been Japan's largest trading partner for five years and accounted for nearly 21 percent of its total foreign trade volume in 2011. Japan, meanwhile, is China's fourth biggest trading partner after the European Union, the United States and ASEAN.

It is for sure that the two neighboring countries "separated by a strip of water" have vast potential to develop a strong political and economic relationship.

But certain short-sighted Japanese politicians are straining the relationship and ratcheting up tensions to new highs because of their own political agendas and narrow nationalism.

It is time for those politicians to honor history and the wills of both peoples to mend the fences between the two neighbors, which have enjoyed thousands of years of friendship.