China warns of strong steps in Japan island spat

BEIJING Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:04pm EDT

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - China reserves the right to take strong countermeasures if Japan "creates incidents" in the waters around a group of disputed uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, a Chinese vice foreign minister said on Friday.

"We are watching very closely what action Japan might take regarding the Diaoyu islands and their adjacent waters," Zhang Zhijun said at an unusual late night news briefing. "The action that Japan might take will shape China's countermeasures."

Sino-Japanese relations took a dive after the Japanese government bought the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, from a private Japanese owner in September, triggering violent protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products across China.

"If Japan continues down its current wrong path and takes more erroneous actions and creates incidents regarding the Diaoyu Islands and challenges China, China will definitely take strong measures to respond to that," Zhang said.

"There is no lack of countermeasures China might take in response," he added.

"We have the confidence and the ability to uphold the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. No amount of foreign threats or pressure will shake the resolve of the Chinese government and people."

Following Japan's purchase of the islands, China sent fishery patrol and marine surveillance vessels to waters near the islets, raising concern that confrontation with Japanese patrol ships could escalate into a broader conflict.

Senior Japanese and Chinese diplomats have met to discuss a dispute over East China Sea islets that both countries claim, the Japanese government said on Wednesday, underscoring willingness to talk despite a sharp deterioration in ties.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura confirmed talks between Tokyo and Beijing after domestic media reported that Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai secretly met senior Chinese officials, including his counterpart, Zhang Zhijun, in Shanghai last week to discuss the dispute.

Zhang did not indicate that those talks had made any progress.

"In all levels of contact with the Japanese side, the Chinese side presented China's stern position and steely resolve to uphold China's sovereignty. We urge the Japanese side to give up its illusions and correct its mistakes," he said.

"Only this way can we return to normal relations."

China says the islands have been part of the country since ancient times. Taiwan also claims them.

The row with China, the world's second-largest economy and Japan's largest trading partner, has prompted the Bank of Japan to cut its outlook for economies in the region.

(Reporting by Terril Yue Jones; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Roddy)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (5)
Free_Pacific wrote:
Once again, proof as to the danger of the CCP and it malevolent designs for the Asia-Pacific. The largest threat to world peace since facism.

Oct 26, 2012 7:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Soldier-2005 wrote:

The largest threat to World peace is the left over fascism, un-prosecuted, leftist family descent in Japan.. They and their family are trying to erase history in WWII and not educating their post WWII generation about Pearl Harbor, war crime committed in Korea, China and others SE Asia nations in the WWII, plus altering the reason why we dropped two Atomic bombs to them. Trying to turn shame into honor..

We should keep a close eyes what they are trying to stir up. Since they took a lot of benefits/money during the Koreans War and now they think by stirring up confrontation between US (us) and China could help their economy and could derail China relationship with the US.

Also in the past few decades, Chinese was Japanese ” punch bag” for their domestic issue and same formula wouldn’t work for this time and so it get the Japanese Government frustrated…so what they are doing now is “saving face” to their public..

Indeed, south Korean reclaimed their ownership of an Island and the Japanese government wouldn’t and can’t do nothing about it. Since they know they annexed this island from Korean and so do this dispute island with China. For the historical correction, this island was recorded part of the Chinese Ming Dynasty, Imperial Map in 1534. And Japanese annexed and recorded this island in late 19 century..and wouldn’t say much about the ownership of this island before this.. and their past 100′s year of aggression in the regions.

Oct 27, 2012 9:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mgunn wrote:
Diplomatic rhetoric (china) and historical revisionism (japan – as bad as it may be still…) doesn’t even begin to compare to the actual worldwide instigation, arming, invading, bombing, and murdering of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people that the US did the past 20 years. (Think Balkans, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. And last century the US killed more Filipinos than the spanish or japanese ever did. The same goes for Vietnam where we killed more than the french or chinese ever did.) Lets keep things in perspective and refrain from exaggerating the disputes of other parts of the world while downplaying our murderous past (and present).

Oct 27, 2012 12:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.