United Nations: The United Nations on Friday witnessed heated exchanges between China and Japan with the former accusing the later of usurping its disputed islands.
China`s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi entered into a verbal duel with Japanese diplomats at the United Nations after he accused Japan of stealing disputed islands.
Chinese and Japanese envoys staged a series of attacks during yesterday`s session after Yang heightened tensions over the East China Sea islands and reopened old diplomatic wounds over World War II.
The Japanese government`s purchase of the uninhabited islands from a private owner this month has infuriated Beijing and set off violent protests in several Chinese cities.
China has demanded the return of the uninhabited islands, known as the Diaoyus in Chinese and the Senkakus in Japanese, for decades. Taiwan also claims the islands.
Yang reaffirmed his country`s historical claim that Japan tricked China into signing a treaty ceding the islands in 1895. Japan states that the islands were legally incorporated into its territory.
Meanwhile, a senior leader of the Chinese Communist Party told a group of Japanese lawmakers and business leaders that it should recognize the existence of a territorial dispute in the East China Sea with China.
“Japanese Government should fully recognize the gravity of the situation and look squarely at the Diaoyu Islands issue over which there is a dispute (between the two countries),” Jia Qinglin of the Chinese Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying at the meeting in Beijing.
“Sino-Japan relations are in an unprecedentedly severe phase," he said, criticizing Japan for putting the Senkaku Islands, which China called Diaoyu, under state control earlier this month.
According to the Japan Times, Jia is chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the No. 4 man in Beijing``s leadership.
Former House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono, who led the Japanese delegation, said ties had taken a severe turn for the worse since he met with Jia in the spring.
"The situation has significantly changed from that time, and I have come (to Beijing) feeling a heaviness in my heart," Kono said.
Sino-Japanese ties have been falling apart since Japan nationalized the islands, which Japan said is intended to maintain peaceful control of them, the report added.
Aside from the criticism, Jia praised Kono and other members of the carefully picked ‘friends’ delegation for ‘making positive contributions to improving and developing bilateral relations by promoting exchanges and cooperation in various areas’ over the past 40 years since the two countries normalized ties on Sept. 29, 1972.
The Japanese delegation included representatives of Japanese groups dedicated to promoting friendship with China, including Satsuki Eda, a senior member of the Democratic Party of Japan and a former president of the House of Councilors, and Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, known as Keidanren, the report added.
With Agency Inputs