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  1. #1

    Japan, China in fresh territorial row

    TOKYO - Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador on Wednesday as a diplomatic row flared over a remote chain of islands, with Beijing asserting its "indisputable sovereignty" to the uninhabited territory.

    The row erupted after three Chinese patrol boats approached the islands, and led China's foreign minister, meeting with his Japanese counterpart at a forum in Cambodia, to insist the islands had been Chinese "since ancient times".

    The dispute, which centres around islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, is the latest such territorial spat involving China and its neighbours.

    The Japanese coastguard said the Chinese vessels entered Japanese waters around the islands early Wednesday.

    "It is clear that historically and legally Senkaku is an inherent territory of Japan," top government spokesman Osamu Fujimura told a press briefing.

    The crews of the vessels, which had since left the islands' immediate vicinity, initially rebuffed Japanese orders to leave.

    "We are conducting official duty in Chinese waters. Do not interfere. Leave China's territorial waters," the crews said, according to the coastguard.

    Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin rejected Tokyo's summoning of its ambassador, telling reporters in Beijing: "China does not accept Japanese representations over this."

    In Phnom Penh, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba and "reaffirmed China's principled position" on the islands, according to a statement from the Chinese delegation.

    "He stressed that Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islets have always been China's territory since ancient times, over which China has indisputable sovereignty," it said.

    The islands lie in rich fishing grounds and it is thought they may also contain valuable mineral reserves. Tokyo recognises a private Japanese family as their owner and the city government has said it plans to buy the islands from them.

    The waters around the disputed islands have been the scene of previous territorial spats, including the arrest of a Chinese trawlerman in late 2010 when he rammed his boat into two Japanese patrol boats.

    Yang's meeting with Gemba came at a gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meant to address some of the recent frictions over competing territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea.

    The 10 members of Southeast Asian regional body ASEAN have been trying to agree a long-stalled "code of conduct" for the disputed area to help settle overlapping claims.

    The Philippines is leading a push for ASEAN to unite to persuade China to accept a code based on a UN law on maritime boundaries that would delineate the areas belonging to each country.

    Manila also wants ASEAN to condemn a standoff last month between Philippine and Chinese ships over Scarborough Shoal, an outcrop in the South China Sea.

    Beijing also recently angered Vietnam by inviting bids for exploration of oil blocks in contested waters, sparking protests in Hanoi.

    China's assertiveness over disputed territories in the South China Sea, which also contains vital shipping lanes, is seen by analysts as pushing anxious neighbouring countries closer to the United States.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier arrived in Cambodia to press for closer relations with ASEAN as part of Washington's strategy of "pivoting" towards Asia to challenge China's influence.

    She is to take part in the ASEAN Regional Forum on Thursday, which brings together 26 nations and the European Union.
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  2. #2
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    Chinese media slams Japan over island dispute

    Agence France-Presse
    Posted at 08/20/2012 1:52 PM | Updated as of 08/20/2012 1:52 PM


    BEIJING - China's state media criticised Tokyo on Monday, a day after Japanese nationalists landed on a disputed island, warning of the damage to ties and threatening more action by Beijing.

    Around a dozen nationalists raised Japanese flags on an island at the heart of a territorial row between the two countries, just days after Tokyo deported pro-Beijing protesters who had landed on the island.

    The English-language China Daily newspaper said the unfurling of Japanese flags on the island was an "affront" to China's sovereignty.

    "Japan is building another wall in its relations with China and the Japanese intruders and their government seem hell-bent on freezing Sino-Japanese ties," it said an editorial.

    "It would be a mistake for Japan to see China's use of reason and restraint to deal with the Diaoyu Islands dispute as its weakness," the editorial said, using China's name for the island chain, which Japan calls Senkaku.

    China's foreign ministry registered a "strong protest" with Japan on Sunday after the landing and urged Tokyo to put ties back on track.

    The People's Daily newspaper, mouthpiece of China's ruling communist party, said Japan should recognise the consequences of its actions.

    "Using the Diaoyu Islands issue to pick a quarrel and provoke an incident with China not only damages Sino-Japanese relations but also hurts the feelings of the Chinese people," it said in an editorial.

    Thousands of Chinese citizens in more than 20 cities protested on Sunday, in what some analysts said was the biggest wave of anti-Japanese sentiment since 2005, when several cities also saw protests over several issues.

    The People's Daily called for negotiations to resolve the issue, repeating a similar call by the Chinese government made on Friday.

    But the Global Times newspaper, known for its nationalistic stance, warned China could reciprocate if Japan increased its defence of the islands.

    "China will definitely take further steps regarding Diaoyu," it said. "The reluctance to resort to military means doesn't mean China is afraid of war."

    Japan detained and then released 14 pro-China activists and journalists who sailed from Hong Kong to land on the islands last week.

  3. #3
    Japan backs Phl initiative for arbitral proceedings

    By Pia Lee-Brago

    (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 24, 2013 - 12:00am

    MANILA, Philippines - Japan backed yesterday the Philippine initiative for arbitral proceedings to clarify maritime zones and entitlements in the South China Sea.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the commitment to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario during a courtesy call at the Kantei (Prime Minister’s Office) in Tokyo.

    “Along these lines, Prime Minister Abe manifested the Japanese government’s support for the Philippines’ initiation of arbitral proceedings last January, pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in its bid to clarify maritime zones and entitlements in the South China Sea,” the DFA said.

    Japan also pledged continued support for the Philippines’ capability-building in maritime security, the DFA added.

    The DFA said Abe and Del Rosario discussed the regional situation and the particular maritime security challenges that the Philippines and Japan are confronting.

    Being two important island nations in the Asia-Pacific, the two countries share the advocacy of promoting the rule of law, the DFA added.

    Del Rosario told Abe the crucial role of international law is attaining a durable resolution to international disputes based on a level playing field.

    He briefed Abe on the Philippines’ parallel pursuit of diplomatic and political avenues to address maritime concerns.

    Abe and Del Rosario welcomed this year’s commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation.

    They also exchanged views on other regional matters, including the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

    Del Rosario was invited to address the annual Nikkei International Conference on the Future of Asia. He concluded his two-day visit to Tokyo yesterday.

    The DFA said Del Rosario also met with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Japan International Cooperation Agency vice president Hiroto Arakawa, and Representative Katsuyuki Kawai, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of Japan’s House of Representatives.

    Futile attempt

    Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio believes the Philippine attempt to take the territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea to an arbitral tribunal under the UNCLOS may be futile.

    Speaking before law graduates of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila last May 18, Carpio said should the UNCLOS decide in favor of either party, the Philippines is at a disadvantage because China has the naval might to enforce a favorable decision.

    “The Philippines does not have the naval might to compel China to comply with any decision of the arbitral tribunal,” he said.

    With Edu Punay

  4. #4
    Japan, China in war of words over airspace

    Associated Press

    12:30 pm | Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

    TOKYO—Japan and China are exchanging angry words over a territorial dispute, with each country summoning the other’s ambassador and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling a newly declared Chinese maritime air defense zone dangerous and unenforceable.

    The United States is weighing in on Japan’s side. White House spokesman Josh Earnest, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Monday, said: “We believe that this announcement from the Chinese government was unnecessarily inflammatory. There are regional disputes in that part of the world, and those are disputes that should be resolved diplomatically.”

    On Saturday, Beijing issued a map of the zone and a set of rules that say all aircraft must notify Chinese authorities and are subject to emergency military measures if they do not identify themselves or obey Beijing’s orders.

    Abe told a parliamentary session Monday that the zone alters the state of affairs in the East China Sea and escalates a tense situation.

    “The measures by the Chinese side have no validity whatsoever for Japan, and we demand China revoke any measures that could infringe upon the freedom of flight in international airspace,” Abe said. “It can invite an unexpected occurrence and it is a very dangerous thing as well.”

    He also slammed China for showing the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, as Chinese territory in the zone.

    Japanese airlines haven’t changed flight paths, but they say they have started notifying China of flights entering the new zone. The affected flights are those to Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as Southeast Asia, depending on the weather.

    Since taking office almost a year ago, Abe has been spearheading a move to step up Japan’s defense capability, citing threats from China’s growing maritime and military presence in the region. Japan has had a similar zone since the 1960s.

    Also Monday, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki summoned Chinese Ambassador Cheng Yonghua to protest the move in person. In Beijing, Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang met with Japanese Ambassador Kitera Masato to complain.

    “The Japanese side is not entitled to make irresponsible remarks and malicious accusations against China,” Zheng said, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.

    China says the zone’s aim is to defend its sovereignty and the security of its airspace and land. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement that it does not affect freedom of overflight.

    South Korea also complained Monday about the Chinese zone, which includes the airspace above a set of submerged rocks that are controlled by Seoul but also claimed by Beijing.

    South Korea’s Defense Ministry summoned China’s military attache in Seoul, saying the zone is unacceptable because it was drawn unilaterally, according to ministry officials. Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said that Seoul won’t notify China when its planes pass through the region.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have both said the U.S. is “deeply concerned” about China’s action. China’s Foreign Ministry complained to the United States over its “irresponsible remarks.”

    The U.S. doesn’t take a position on who has sovereignty over the islands, but recognizes they are under Japanese administration.
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  5. #5
    Japanese airlines stop obeying China’s air zone rules

    Agence France-Presse

    10:48 am | Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

    TOKYO—Japanese airlines said Wednesday they had stopped following rules set by China when it unilaterally declared the right to manage the skies over the East China Sea.

    The reversal comes after pressure from the Japanese government, which insisted China’s announcement was invalid, and after governments around the world lined up alongside Tokyo.

    Japan’s two major airlines had previously said they had been submitting flight plans to Chinese authorities for any plane that was due to pass through the area, a key demand Beijing set out on Saturday when it said it had established an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ).

    The move heightened tensions in the region, where temperatures were already running high over the ownership of the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands, which Beijing says it owns and calls the Diaoyus.

    On Tuesday it was roundly condemned by Japan and its allies, including the United States, which flew two US B-52 bombers over the disputed islands in a show of force.

    “After the Japanese government said private airlines don’t have to follow Beijing’s claims on Tuesday, our industry body held a meeting on Tuesday and decided we won’t follow” Beijing’s demands any more, a spokesman for former flag carrier Japan Airlines told AFP.

    “JAL has stopped submitting flight plans since 0000 a.m. Wednesday (1500 GMT Tuesday),” he said.

    JAL’s rival All Nippon Airways also said it has stopped complying.

    “The Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan, an aviation industry body, made the decision after it received assurances from China, through the Japanese foreign ministry, that Beijing has no intention of obstructing the flights of commercial airline carriers,” the JAL spokesman said.
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