News / Asia

China, Japan Trade Words Over Disputed Islands

East China Sea
East China Sea
Stephanie Ho

China's foreign ministry is calling for Japan to withdraw its fishing boats from disputed waters in the East China Sea. Meanwhile, Japanese officials are downplaying the issue, and say they are hopeful the two sides can soon hold further discussions on joint cooperation on gas fields in the area.

The official Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei as saying Beijing is demanding Japan immediately withdraw fishing boats from the waters around disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The islands are referred to as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese. The Chinese statement repeated claims the islands have been Chinese territory since ancient times, and that Beijing has what it described as “incontrovertible sovereignty” over them.

The comments came as Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto was winding up a two-day visit to China.  A Japanese foreign ministry spokesman, Hidenobu Sobashima, said the two officials discussed the disputed territory, but in general terms.

“Foreign Minister Matsumoto said Senkaku Islands is historically, and also in terms of international law, is an integral part of Japan, and there is no territorial issue to be resolved," he said. "This is the Japanese position. And Chinese Foreign Minister mentioned the Chinese position.”

Despite the apparently entrenched positions on sovereignty, the Japanese spokesman indicated he is optimistic the two sides can move forward on discussing legally-binding agreements on joint exploration of gas fields in the area.  He said Japanese and Chinese leaders discussed this at a summit meeting in Tokyo in May.

“Compared with last year, perhaps this year, particularly after the earthquake and after the summit, the atmosphere is more promising than a little earlier,” said Sobashima.

Relations between the two countries sank to a low point last year after a Chinese fishing boat collided with a Japanese coast guard vessel near the islands in September.

Recent polls in both countries have found high levels of mutual public distrust. Peking University International Studies Associate Professor Dong Wang says he believes such negative public opinion only exacerbates the problems in the relationship.

“I think that the management of China-Japan relations will become increasingly more challenging and probably more difficult," he said. "But I think the top leaders from both countries also, in the final analysis, they also understand that China-Japan antagonism does not serve either party.”

Instead, he says, better and more cooperative Sino-Japanese relations will benefit both countries.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid