China has published an expensive, two-page color advertisement in a prominent U.S. newspaper, defending its claim to disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The ad in The New York Times
Friday says China has “indisputable sovereignty” over the Diaoyu islands. The tiny islands and rock formations are at the center of an ongoing dispute between China and Japan, where they are known as the Senkaku Islands.
The dispute has overshadowed the 40th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The Chinese ad says the earliest “historical reference” to the Diaoyu Islands can be found in the book Voyage with a Tail Wind, published in China in 1403.
The newspaper ad, apparently designed as an attempt to sway U.S. public opinion surrounding the islands ownership controversy, cost about $250,000, according to the newspaper’s ad rate card.
The two-page spread features the headline: “Diaoyu Islands Belong to China,” with a sub-headline saying “Japan Grabbed Diaoyu Island from China.”
The newspaper ad says after China was defeated in the Sino-Japanese War in 1895, it was “forced to sign the unequal” Treaty of Shimonoseki and cede to Japan both Taiwan and Diaoyu. However, Japan was obliged to return “all the Chinese territories it had forcibly occupied” according to agreements after World War II.
Tensions escalated earlier this month when the islands were sold to the Japanese government by a Japanese businessman. China says the sale was not legal.
Demonstrations have erupted across China, and violence has prompted Canon, Panasonic and other Japanese industry giants to shutter their Chinese factories.