News / Asia

Japanese Lawmakers Visit Island Also Claimed by China

Huang Hsi-lin (C-white shirt), the chairman of an activist organization that asserts Chinese sovereignty over a group of uninhabited islets, known as Senkaku in Japan and Daioyutai in China, takes questions from the media, January 3, 2012.
Huang Hsi-lin (C-white shirt), the chairman of an activist organization that asserts Chinese sovereignty over a group of uninhabited islets, known as Senkaku in Japan and Daioyutai in China, takes questions from the media, January 3, 2012.

In a move that could escalate a decades-long territorial dispute between China and Japan, several Japanese politicians have been spotted landing on a disputed islet in the East China Sea.

Japanese authorities say four municipal politicians from Okinawa arrived Tuesday on the eight-hectare Uotsuri island, 170 kilometers northeast of Taiwan, and spent about two-and-a-half hours there.

The members of the Ishigaki municipal assembly are pressing Japan's claim to a string of rocky, uninhabited islands which are also claimed by Beijing and Taipei.

Japanese Lawmakers Visit Island Also Claimed by China
Japanese Lawmakers Visit Island Also Claimed by China

They are known as the Senkaku islands in Japanese and Daioyutai in Chinese.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, in a written statement Tuesday, says the islands "have been part of China” since ancient times. It adds the Chinese government remains determined to safeguard its sovereignty over the islands.

Japan has claimed the islands since the late 19th century, after it annexed Okinawa.

University of Connecticut professor Alexis Dudden has extensively studied Northeast Asia's island disputes. She says the Senkakus are the most delicate of all of Japan's various maritime territorial disputes with China, South Korea and Russia because they lie in the middle of "very volatile natural resource claims" and have a strategic position.

"What's at stake today has everything to do with fish on the one hand, everything to do with natural gas and oil deposits on that very same hand. And, on the other hand, it has everything to do with the rise of China's self-perception as a maritime nation and the actual existence of the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the mix," Dudden said.

The United States, while recognizing Japanese administrative control of the islands, has avoided stating a position on what it calls the islands' "ultimate sovereignty."

Professor Dudden says China's stance is further complicated by Taiwan's rival claim. "If anybody's historical claim is going to go forth, Taiwan actually has, arguably, a stronger claim to the islands than any of the other participants. At the same time, it's very clear from all sorts of fishermen's diaries, testimonies, that everybody has been chasing fish around these rocks throughout the 20th century," he said.

Last month, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visited Beijing and agreed the two countries would hold a high-level meeting to reduce maritime tensions.

Japan's central government restricts landings on the disputed islands on the continental shelf. But conservative Japanese politicians have called for a tougher stance towards China after clashes between the Japanese coast guard and Chinese fishing boats.

South Korea also faces a similar situation. It is currently holding a Chinese skipper who is charged with fatally stabbing a South Korean coast guard officer last month who boarded his trawler in the Yellow Sea.

That was the latest in a series of violent confrontations between South Korean authorities and Chinese fishing vessels.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid