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Comment: Island landing won't alter history
( 2003-08-27 08:06) (China Daily)

China's inherent sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands and its abutting islets is an irrefutable fact despite various kinds of attempts made by Japan to change this.

On Monday morning, nine members from the Tokyo-based Nihon Seinen Sha group, a Japanese right-wing organization, once again made an illegal landing on the islands.

The right-wingers approached the Diaoyu Islands on a chartered fishing vessel and then used a rubber dinghy to land, according to Japanese media reports.

Such a move constitutes a serious encroachment upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It is an ironclad fact that the Diaoyu Islands, which Japan calls the "Senkaku Islands,'' have belonged to China's since ancient times.

Only after the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, in which China's feudal Qing government was defeated, have the islands, together with China's Taiwan island, fallen into the hands of Japanese imperialists.

But World War II ended Japan's rule of the islands.

Several international documents released during World War II clearly state that Japan should unconditionally return its occupied Chinese land to China, which include the Diaoyu Islands.

As the vanquished who accepted the documents as a precondition to end of war, Japan has no legal ground to claim it has sovereignty over them.

Due to its own domestic reasons, China did not gain an immediate handover of the Diaoyu Islands from Japan, and the United States had a long-term occupation of the islands together with Japanese territory.

The situation become more complicated when the United States returned Okinawa, together with China's Diaoyu Islands, to Japan in 1972.

But this does not change the fact that the islands belong to China.

The Japanese rightist forces have constantly landed on the islands to try to exercise control over them.

In 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2002, Japan's right-wingers made similar landings on the Chinese territory.

The illegal arrivals have been proven to be closely related to the country's domestic political atmosphere and its inflated military ambition.

Japan's growing drive to beef up its military recently has undoubtedly encouraged the country's rightists to stage the latest landing.

To maintain smooth Sino-Japanese relations, the Chinese Government has insisted that the two countries should shelve disputes on the issue and seek common development.

To be responsible and to keep bilateral ties steady, the Japanese Government should rein in its right-wingers' provocative acts.

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