Tokyo must 'give up the illusion'

Updated: 2012-09-26 02:07


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Beijing warned Tokyo on Tuesday to "give up the illusion" during ministerial talks as the government issued a white paper over the Diaoyu Islands in the latest move to defend the nation's sovereignty.

Observers said that while there was a willingness for further dialogue, despite few signs that tension is easing, room for maneuver was limited.

During talks concerning the Diaoyu Islands on Tuesday in Beijing, Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun told his Japanese counterpart Chikao Kawai that Beijing will "absolutely not tolerate any unilateral action taken by Japan that infringes on China's territorial sovereignty".

The ministerial meeting was requested by Japan and Kawai arrived in Beijing on Monday.

Tokyo illegally "purchased" some of the islands in the East China Sea in September. The islands have belonged to China for centuries. Tokyo's provocation is "an outright denial of the outcome of the victory of the global anti-fascist war and poses a huge challenge to the post-war international order", Zhang warned.

Both countries agreed on further talks on the islands, and Zhang warned the Japanese to "give up the illusion, face up to its erroneous actions and correct them with credible steps".

Yang Bojiang, a professor of Japanese studies at the University of International Relations in Beijing, said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's ability to make concessions will be limited with a general election looming and an escalation of tension cannot be ruled out.

"However, policy makers on both sides know well the interdependence of China-Japan economic and trade ties," Yang said.

Lu Yaodong, director of the department of Japanese diplomacy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, warned that Tokyo is perhaps tactically trying to complicate the issue.

"It is dispatching diplomats to Beijing yet Noda may deny the existence of a territorial dispute when addressing the United Nations in New York," Lu said.

More than 70 fishing boats from Taiwan arrived in waters off the islands on Tuesday to protest against Japan's illegal "purchase".

The waters have been traditional fishing grounds for generations of Chinese fishermen but Japan has recently harassed Chinese trawlers.

Japanese Coast Guard vessels fired water cannons at the boats and patrol ships from Taiwan fired water cannons back. The fishing boats set sail for home soon after the maritime standoff.

Meanwhile, the government's white paper on the islands was released by the State Council Information Office on Tuesday.

The white paper, divided into seven parts, details the facts of Japan's theft of the islands from China, and the illegal collaboration between the United States and Japan over the islands.

The islands were discovered, named and exploited by China, and they have long been under China's jurisdiction, according to the white paper.

Refuting Japan's unfounded claim over the islands, the white paper also introduced China's measures to enhance its sovereignty over the islands, including the recent announcement of coordinates for the islands' territorial waters.

Analysts said Beijing usually releases white papers on critical issues, including national defense, and this white paper showed its commitment to protecting its sovereignty.

"Territorial integrity is a core interest for any country, and China needs the white paper to clarify its stance over the principle," said Jia Yu, deputy director of the China Institute for Marine Affairs.

Chinese and other foreign maps also show that the islands belong, and have always belonged, to China, the white paper says.

Japan illegally grabbed the islands at the end of the Sino-Japanese War in 1895.

After World War II, the islands were returned to China in accordance with international protocol and documents signed at the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation.

However, the United States "arbitrarily" included the islands under its trusteeship in the 1950s and "returned" the "power of administration" over the islands to Japan in the 1970s, the white paper says.

"The backroom deals between the United States and Japan, concerning the Diaoyu Islands, are acts of grave violations of China's territorial sovereignty," the white paper said.

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Liu Yedan and Xinhua contributed to this story.