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China objects to Japan's plans to buy disputed islands

Bloomberg News


A Japanese government plan to buy uninhabited islands owned by a private investor provoked condemnation from China, which also claims it owns the rocky outcroppings, the latest flare-up in a dispute over territory and resources in the East China Sea.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on July 7 said the government is considering a purchase of the islands, Kyodo News reported. China’s Foreign Ministry responded with a statement that the islets belong to China and “can’t be bought or sold.”

The dispute over who controls the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Daioyu in Chinese, escalated in April after Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said he wanted to use public money to buy them. Sovereignty over the area, which has undersea natural gas and oil fields, has been a flash point between the world’s second- and third-largest economies.

“Clearly the reason why the Senkaku Islands are a big bone of contention is the potential for resources,” said Jeff Kingston, head of the Asian Studies program at Temple University in Tokyo. “Governor Ishihara has caused a headache for the government and what they’re trying to do is engage in damage control by getting the islands out of the grips of Ishihara, who’s trying to politicize this for his own gain.”

Taiwan also claims the isles, which are about 150 miles northeast of its capital, Taipei; 100 miles northwest of the southernmost island in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture; and 400 miles southeast of Shanghai. A Taiwan government spokesperson on July 7 said the plan to buy the islands is unacceptable, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

Japan and China are engaged in territorial disputes with other countries as well. China is squabbling with the Philippines and Vietnam over islands in the South China Sea, while Japan and South Korea each claim ownership of rocky islets that nearly provoked a 2006 naval clash.

Vietnam’s parliament last month passed a maritime law reasserted sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands and as many as 200 protesters marched in Hanoi yesterday, calling for China to leave the area. The Philippines on July 5 filed a protest against China’s establishment of a city called Sansha covering several disputed island groups and atolls.

China and members of the Association of South Asian Nations should continue negotiations over territorial claims in the South China Sea, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday in Tokyo. Clinton didn’t comment on the dispute between China and Japan.

A 2010 collision between a Chinese fishing vessel and Japanese Coast Guard ships near the Senkaku Islands frayed ties for months. The two countries have yet to implement a 2008 agreement to jointly develop the area’s undersea natural gas and oil resources.

“There are many in the government who think that Ishihara is playing a dangerous game politicizing the Senkaku Islands and jeopardizing a rapprochement that has been going on,” Temple University’s Kingston said. “Now the government is in this embarrassing position of doing this thing they don’t want to do, knowing that it’s stoking regional tensions.”

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1local wrote:
China has enough money to buy Japan. China already owns the USA...
on July 8,2012 | 10:31AM
wm808hi wrote:
I been to China many times and the people are still very poor. The per capita income is still well below the world's average. Everyday people still cannot afford simple things we take for granted.
on July 8,2012 | 07:03PM
HD36 wrote:
Yet they are the word's largest creditor nation and the US is the world's largest debtor nation in the history of the world.
on July 9,2012 | 12:16AM
wm808hi wrote:
If you take the total wealth of China and the total wealth of the US, its not even close. Even Chinese economist would agree that their "wealth" is not even close to what the US economy produces. In many ways, china is still a third world country.
on July 10,2012 | 02:17AM
Kokoy wrote:
jan ken po already
on July 8,2012 | 10:36AM
MightyMakiki wrote:
I'll go with either Taiwan or Japan. Just keep the So China Sea. Calm!
on July 8,2012 | 11:00AM
serfboy wrote:
Including a map would've been helpful...
on July 8,2012 | 11:58AM
Anonymous wrote:
on July 8,2012 | 07:08PM
sailfish1 wrote:
There must be some bases for their claims. Maybe there is a need to create some kind of international court.
on July 8,2012 | 12:39PM
sloturle wrote:
whens the war coming
on July 8,2012 | 01:28PM
false wrote:
seems as though the islands could be rightfully claimed by whichever country is closest to them, which in this case would be Japan, which is 300 miles closer than China and less than 100 miles closer than Taiwan. But logic like that has no place in politics.
on July 8,2012 | 01:56PM
HD36 wrote:
Yea, we bought Alaska but it's alot closer to Russia.
on July 9,2012 | 12:18AM
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