China warns Japan against basing officials in disputed islands
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Last Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 20:25
  
Beijing: China on Tuesday warned Japan against its "provocative" plan to station officials in islands in the East China Sea at the centre of a bitter dispute, saying it will resolutely defend its territorial sovereignty.

"We are severely concerned about the remarks made by the Japanese officials regarding our territorial sovereignty. We are resolute and determined in safeguarding it," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here, answering questions about Japan's statement about its plans to station officials at the disputed islands, called Diaoyu by China and Senkakus by Japan.

"We will not tolerate any of our any provocative actions against our territorial sovereignty. Japan should bear the consequences of all its provocative actions," Hong said.

He was reacting to reported comments by Chief Japanese Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga that the government headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made "resolute but calm responses to defend our territory, territorial waters and airspace decisively", he said.

"Our country will never make a concession on the matter of sovereignty," he said, according to media reports from Tokyo.

Asked whether Japan might station government officials on the islands to reinforce Japan's claims, Suga said, "That is one option".

A year ago, the Japanese government bought three of the isles in the East China Sea from a private Japanese party, inflaming anger in China where there were big anti-Japan protests over the purchase.

Since then, China deployed its naval and coast guard vessels which aggressively patrolled the waters jostling with that of Japanese Coast Guard vessels. The two sides also scrambled jets few times but avoided any direct hostilities so far.

This month marks the completion of one year of hostilities between the two countries which put the over USD 345 billion bilateral trade in jeopardy.

To coincide with the anniversary, China pressed seven Coast Guard vessels around the waters of the islands.

"The vessels patrolled the country's territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands," China's State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said.

It marked the 59th Diaoyu Islands patrol by Chinese law-enforcement vessels since September 2012, when Japan announced a plan to "purchase" the islands, according to the SOA, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Hong defended the deployment of Chinese ships saying that "Chinese government officials patrol the waters are normal activity to safeguard its territorial sovereignty".

"One year ago, Japan illegally purchased China's territory Diaoyu islands. It has grossly infringed up China's territorial sovereignty and caused great difficulty to China-Japan relations," Hong said.

"We urge the Japanese side to face up to history and facts, correct its mistakes and desist from all the actions detrimental to Chinese sovereignty and make efforts to remove the obstacles for the improvement of the bilateral relations," he said.

"China is determined and resolute to defend its sovereignty. In the meantime, we maintain that relevant issue should be solved through dialogue and consultations," he said.

In a special commentary on the first anniversary of the tensions over the islands, Xinhua reported that Japan should resolve the dispute as it has won the bid to host Olympic Games in 2020. "Now, with Tokyo having won the right to host the 2020 Olympics, an event that advocates peace and harmony, it is the right time for the Japanese government to adjust its attitude on its war-time history and break the stalemate by taking concrete action to win back its neighbours' trust," the report said.

In the first seven months of 2013, bilateral trade declined 8.8 per cent year on year to USD 174 billion. The trade volume shrank 6 per cent in August alone, it said.

The consistent declines in trade between the world's second- and third-largest economies this year were largely due to wrong words and actions by Japanese politicians and government, the report said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he is eager to improve Japanese-Chinese relations. But, his government is certainly talking one way and acting in another, it said.

In addition to escalating the disputes on Diaoyu Islands, Japanese cabinet members also visited the country's shrine honouring Class-A war criminals.

Japan is also striving to amend its constitution so that it can possess "normal" armed forces with "normal rights" to wage war, it said.

Without Japan's good faith to resolve the territorial dispute through negotiations, the already tense situation will continue to face growing uncertainties and risks, the report said, adding that after hard-earned efforts by generations of leaders of the two countries, the bilateral relationship needs tender care.

"For the benefit of both countries and the region at large, China is willing to advance China-Japan strategic ties of mutual benefit on the basis of the four Chinese-Japanese political documents, the key agreements regarding strategic and reciprocal relations, peace and friendship," the report said.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 20:25


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