Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Evidence shows Diaoyu Dao is China's territory

By Guo Jiping (China Daily) Updated: 2012-10-15 08:10

On Sept 10, the Japanese government announced its decision to "purchase" China's Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated Nanxiao Dao and Beixiao Dao in a bid to "nationalize" these islands. In the wake of it, the Chinese government expressed solemn position and adopted strong countermeasures, the Chinese people voiced strong indignation and demonstrated enormous cohesiveness against the Japanese move, and the voice of justice and great alarm was heard in the international community. These have combined to deal a serious blow to the arrogance of the Japanese side. Yet Japan has obstinately refused to correct its erroneous position. On the contrary, it has continued to take unscrupulous steps to infringe upon China's territorial sovereignty and challenge the post-war international order.


"Let's calm the Diaoyu Dao issue. Let's look at the big picture of Japan-China relations. Let peace and stability be maintained in northeast Asia." Such were the rhetoric from Japan. But these ostensibly restrained and constructive gestures could not mask Tokyo's true intent and restlessness. The Japanese government claimed that "we cannot cede what we cannot cede" and that "Japan should make an all-out effort to strengthen its guard over the waters around the Senkaku Islands". Japanese right-wing forces also clamored for the building of facilities on Diaoyu Dao to strengthen Japan's capability to confront China.

On the evening of Sept 21, quite a few Japanese personnel landed on Diaoyu Dao. The next day, right-wing groups staged anti-China protests in Tokyo, claiming that "China has invaded the Senkaku Islands" and crying for "the stationing of Japan Self-Defense Forces on the Senkaku Islands". Besides, Japan Coast Guard assembled patrol vessels from its jurisdictions across Japan to guard the waters around Diaoyu Dao and interfere with routine patrol and protection missions of Chinese maritime surveillance vessels and fishery administration vessels in those waters.

On the occasion of the UN General Assembly session, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda went to great lengths to talk about the so-called "legal evidence" of Japanese sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao and insisted that there is no dispute between Japan and China over the issue. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs put together documents under the title "Three Truths about the Senkaku Islands" to summarize Japan's position and instructed Japanese embassies to communicate with their host countries accordingly. The Japanese Foreign Ministry also asked for an additional 600 million yen in its budget of the next fiscal year, which will be used to fund propaganda and research activities for the sake of "defending Japanese territory". Certain Japanese media outlets even resorted to the despicable act of making up stories to create the impression that other countries supported Japan's position.

In fact, not much was new in the "media offensive" Japan has mounted. It was full of clichs such as Diaoyu Dao being inherent Japanese territory based on historical facts and international law, and the goal of Japanese "nationalization" being to "continue its stable and secure management". However, to the extent that there was something new, it was as follows: China had not claimed sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao until the early 1970s; in the 1972 negotiations to normalize diplomatic relations and 1978 negotiations to conclude the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, the then leaders of China and Japan did not reach understanding or consensus to "shelve the dispute" over Diaoyu Dao; China's overreaction to the "island purchase" and widespread acts of violence against Japanese interests in China made Japan feel "under threat".

The truth of the matter is: Diaoyu Dao is an integral part of China, and Japan's usurpation of China's Diaoyu Dao is illegal and invalid. Japan's so-called "nationalization" of Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated Nanxiao Dao and Beixiao Dao constitutes serious encroachment on China's territorial sovereignty. This principled position of China has been stated comprehensively in an article titled "How Can Anybody Else Recklessly 'Buy' or 'Sell' China's Diaoyu Dao?", which was run by the People's Daily on Sept 11 under the byline of "Guo Jiping". In the article published today, we will use historical facts and norms of international law to expose the absurdity and sinister nature of the so-called "new points" in Japan's recent propaganda.

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