Beijing to take 'necessary measures' to defend territory

Updated: 2012-09-06 02:12

By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)

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Tokyo endangers ties as it plans to 'buy' islands that belong to China

Beijing pledged on Wednesday to take "necessary measures" to defend its territory in response to Tokyo's plan to "nationalize" China's Diaoyu Islands within the month.

Analysts warned that Tokyo is pushing China-Japan ties into a corner.

Kyodo News agency reported that the Japanese government reached an agreement with the so-called "private owner'' of the islands to pay 2.05 billion yen ($26.15 million) for the purchase of part of the chain, apparently three of the five main islands, in the East China Sea.

"We cannot help but ask where is Japan trying to lead the islands issue to?" said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei in response to a question on Wednesday about the reports.

"China is closely watching the situation and will take necessary measures to safeguard territorial sovereignty,'' Hong said.

Sources at the State Oceanic Administration told China Daily that the relevant authorities have made preparations in case of any emergencies.

Lu Yaodong, director of the department of Japanese diplomacy at the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Tokyo's plan to "buy" the islands has, to some extent, derailed ties.

Ties have been strained since Shintaro Ishihara, the right-wing governor of Tokyo, unveiled plans on behalf of the city government to "purchase" the islands.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, facing mounting nationalism and growing unpopularity over domestic policies, announced a plan in July to "nationalize'' the islands, a move that prompted further protests from Beijing.

The plan is expected to be approved by the Japanese cabinet this month, Japan's Fuji Television reported on Wednesday.

"In response to Japan's plans to enhance its rival claim over the islands, China should take firm and powerful countermeasures to express the country's determination to guard its sovereignty,'' said Zhang Haiwen, deputy director of the China Institute for Marine Affairs.

Tokyo last week sent Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, parliamentary senior deputy minister of foreign affairs, to China to cool tensions.

Yamaguchi also expressed Tokyo's wish to see Noda and President Hu Jintao meet on the sidelines of the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which is scheduled to start in Russia on Saturday.

Diaoyu: 'Purchase' of islands tests Japan's friendship treaty credibility

Beijing has not confirmed any plan for the talks, and Chinese observers said Tokyo has not established an ideal atmosphere for the meeting.

Tokyo has turned a blind eye to a series of solemn representations and demands from Beijing as they pushed to "buy" the islands, Hong said, and Tokyo has "seriously infringed" China's sovereignty.

The Xinhua news agency slammed the reported "purchase" as a prank, saying it would test Japan's credibility over an "historical commitment" made in the 1978 friendship treaty to resolve the issue.

"The Japanese government has ridiculously reached an agreement with the self-claimed Japanese 'private owners' of China's Diaoyu Islands to formally purchase them, a daredevil move that could further wreck ties with Beijing," Xinhua said in a commentary.

Chinese activists landed on the Diaoyu Islands in August after sailing from Hong Kong. They were illegally arrested by Japanese authorities.

Days later, about a dozen Japanese rightists raised their country's flag on the same island, prompting protests in cities across China.

Liu Yedan contributed to this story.

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