News / Asia

Japan Increases Security Around Disputed Islands

Japan Coast Guard vessel PS206 Houou sails in front of Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, Aug. 18, 2013. (File photo)
Japan Coast Guard vessel PS206 Houou sails in front of Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, Aug. 18, 2013. (File photo)
VOA News
Japan increased its surveillance in the East China Sea on Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of its purchase of a group of islands there that are also claimed by China.

Ties between Asia's two largest economies reached their lowest point in years after Japan bought some of the islands from their private Japanese landowner 12 months ago.

China refused to recognize the sale. It responded by sending increased sea and air patrols to the islands in what is seen as an attempt to assert Beijing's claim to the strategic area.

Japanese Deputy Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Wednesday that Tokyo will stand firm in its position on the islands, but hopes for a diplomatic resolution to the tensions.

"We will take all measures necessary to protect our sovereignty, territory and airspace as necessary while also looking to react in a calm manner," her said. "We do not want to escalate the situation from the Japanese side. We look to continue to talk with the Chinese side and improve the situation."

A government spokesman on Tuesday said Japan has not ruled out deploying officials to the uninhabited island chain, a comment that drew a sharp rebuke by Beijing.

China's foreign ministry said Beijing was "gravely concerned" by the remarks and warned that Japan will have to "accept the consequences" if it "recklessly makes provocative moves."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for high-level talks to resolve the dispute. But China has rejected his offer as insincere, saying Tokyo must first make concessions to reduce tensions.

At sea, meanwhile, government patrols ships and airplanes from both countries continued to engage in minor standoffs and confrontations, raising fears of a military clash.

On Tuesday, Japan formally complained to Beijing over the presence of eight Chinese government ships in the area. The Japanese coastguard says the flotilla was the biggest of its kind since April.

On Monday, Japan scrambled fighter jets in the East China Sea after it spotted what it said was an unmanned aircraft flying toward Japan.

The islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, are uninhabited, but surrounded by rich fishing ground and potential energy deposits.

Japan annexed the islets in the late 19th century. China claimed sovereignty over the archipelago in 1971, saying ancient maps show it has been Chinese territory for centuries.

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Comment Sorting
by: nathan from: fujian province, China
September 11, 2013 12:20 PM
It looks like that Japan is going to have a war against China, if that so, the US will not survive from it, it will be a catastrophe of the whole world.
The US should stop the trend.
In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
September 12, 2013 7:11 AM
Jonathan Huang,
go back to China and prepare to fight for your country.
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
September 11, 2013 3:40 PM
@ian from Us. Sorry, who said our government started all of these? We just COPYED the sea map from Taiwan, ok? No one inch more! And that sea map was published at 1943 by ROC. CCP got into power only after 1949. So CCP is just protecting our territories. If you have problem with it then talk to US's ally Taiwan first which is also claim the whole South China Sea and Diaoyu island!
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
September 11, 2013 2:35 PM
If china wants to fight with Japan, so be it. We don't care
why do you say that US will not survive from it ?
You want to pick a fight with us as well ? you want to claim Hawaii as an ancient chinese island as well?
Why should the US have to stop any trend that China start!!
You start the fight with a whole bunch of countries to take away their land such as the case with India & islands such as with Vietnam & philippines and other southeast asian nations . Since you say it will be catastrophe of the whole world of what you are doing, why don't you stop doing it . Why do you expect other nations to comply with you thug like attitude?
Your chinese government started all off these boo boo by flexing the muscle proclaiming the whole sea & islands which belong to other countries .
Your greediness by the prospect stealing oil resource from other countries blinds you but it does not exempt you from your sin . It doesn't mean the whole world does not know you are lying .
If you want natural resource from other countries , buy it from them, don't swagging around claiming those lands & island your since the time of the dinosaurs

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