China criticizes Japan's protest over question of Okinawa sovereignty

BEIJING Thu May 9, 2013 7:22am EDT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China criticized Japan on Thursday for lodging a diplomatic protest against a Chinese state media commentary calling into question Japanese sovereignty over the southern Ryukyu Islands, which include Okinawa.

The latest angry exchange could further strain tense relations between Asia's two-largest economies, which are involved in a stand-off over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

On Wednesday, the People's Daily, the Chinese Communist Party's mouthpiece, published a commentary by two Chinese government-backed scholars who said ownership of the Ryukyu islands should be re-examined, prompting Japan to lodge the diplomatic protest.

"China cannot accept Japan's so-called negotiations or protests," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing.

"The relevant scholars' academic articles reflect attention and research paid by China's populace and academia to the Diaoyu Islands and related historical problems," Hua said.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular briefing in Tokyo on Wednesday that the islands were Japanese territory.

"Japan lodged a stern protest that we can by no means accept the article in question if it reflects the Chinese government's stance," Suga said.

China had responded to Japan by saying that the piece was written by scholars as individuals, Suga said.

Okinawa, host to the bulk of up to 50,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan, is the largest island in the Ryukyu chain, which extends south towards Taiwan.

The scholars from a top government think-tank, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, called the Ryukyu Islands a "vassal state" of China's Ming and Qing dynasties before they were annexed by Japan, suggesting that China had a historical claim to the island chain.

"Hanging in the balance of history, the unresolved problem of the Ryukyus has finally arrived at the time for reconsideration," the scholars wrote.

Chinese-Japanese relations plummeted to their lowest point since normalization of ties more than 40 years ago when Japan bought disputed the East China Sea islets from a private Japanese owner in September.

That row has in recent months escalated to the point where both sides have scrambled fighter jets while patrol ships shadow each other in nearby seas, raising worry that an unintended collision or other incident could lead to a broader clash.

(Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in TOKYO; Editing by Sui-Lee Wee and Robert Birsel)

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Comments (8)
Free_Pacific wrote:
Stances of the Chinese government like this, lay bare its brutal policy towards it’s neighbors. Now it says the time is right to attempt to break up and absorb parts, of yet another country.

China is the greatest threat to regional and possibly world piece since Nazism. Read as the naked Chinese nationalist howl their approval of corrupt hostile policies.

May 09, 2013 10:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
So once China completes their conquest in the East China Sea, what is next? I think if you fantasize long enough China likely at one time ruled Hawaii too.

This is the classic case of their peaceful rise. Another term for it could be peaceful ‘colonization.’ Give them an inch and they will take a mile. I think Europeans should re-examine their land claims far more closely, I believe Rome and the British Empire could have some legs to stand on.

If we go that route, which history should we go with? The Germans after all ‘ruled’ a large portion of Europe for a while. Perhaps we should go back only to 1940? There is Charlemagne too, perhaps we can scare up some of the family through modern DNA and allow them a chance to stake their claim on large swaths of the EU?

China wants to talk out both sides of their mouth, “peaceful ruse (oops) rise” and “closer relationships with neighbors” all the while closing their nets. Once manufacturing becomes too cost prohibitive in China and the US/EU get their collective heads out of their backsides perhaps someone will step in and give them a piece of their mind.

As for the fyus comment: “Liberation from Japan”. Do me a favor and travel to Okinawa to find one single person there who would prefer being a Chinese colony ruled by Beijing instead of a Japanese prefecture, with high level support from Tokyo. The comment is full of utter nonsense, though the US Military issue is clearly a big deal. Kick them out so China can steamroll Okinawa on their way east.

May 09, 2013 12:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
“China is the greatest threat to regional and possibly world piece since Nazism. Read as the naked Chinese nationalist howl their approval of corrupt hostile policies.”

Get out of your bunker and see the world.

May 09, 2013 9:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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