Japan condemns China fishing curbs; vows to defend islands

NARASHINO, Japan Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:00am EST

1 of 4. Japan's Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera (C) reviews troops from the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force 1st Airborne Brigade during an annual new year military exercise at Narashino exercise field in Funabashi, east of Tokyo January 12, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

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NARASHINO, Japan (Reuters) - Japan on Sunday joined the United States in criticising China's new fishing restrictions in the South China Sea, saying the curbs, coupled with the launch last year of an air defence zone, has left the international community jittery.

Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera made the comment after observing the Japanese Self-Defence Forces' elite airborne brigade conducting airdrop drills designed to hone their skills to defend and retake remote islands.

Earlier on Sunday, Chinese government ships briefly entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near a group of disputed East China Sea islets, in the first such action this year.

"Setting something like this unilaterally as if you are treating your own territorial waters, and imposing certain restrictions on fishing boats is not something that is internationally tolerated," Onodera told reporters.

"I'm afraid not only Japan but the international society as a whole has a concern that China is unilaterally threatening the existing international order" with its new restrictions in the South China Sea and the creation of an air defence identification zone, he said.

The fishing rules, approved by China's southern Hainan province, took effect on January 1 and require foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval to enter disputed waters in the South China Sea, which the local government says are under its jurisdiction.

Washington called the fishing rules "provocative and potentially dangerous", prompting a rebuttal from China's foreign ministry on Friday.

Ties between China and Japan, the world's second- and third-largest economies, have been strained due to a long-running row over ownership of the group of tiny, uninhabited islands called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Tensions soared in recent months after Beijing announced the air defence identification zone covering a large swathe of the East China Sea, including the disputed isles, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a controversial Tokyo shrine seen by critics as a symbol of Japan's wartime aggression.

China and South Korea, where bitter memories of Japan's past militarism run deep, have repeatedly expressed anger in the past over Japanese politicians' visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are honoured along with those who died in battle.

Stoking tensions further, three Chinese government ships on Sunday morning briefly entered what Japan sees as its territorial waters near the disputed islands, controlled by Japan but also claimed by China, the latest in such occasional entries by Chinese ships.

"We can never overlook such repeated entries. In addition to diplomatic efforts, we will cooperate with Coast Guard and securely defend our territory and territorial waters around the Senkaku," Onodera said.

Patrol ships from China and Japan have been shadowing each other near the islets on and off for months, raising fears that a confrontation could develop into a clash.

(Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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Comments (8)
CNSG wrote:
First of all, Diaoyu Islands, or Senkaku or whatever Japanese want to call them, do not belong to Japan.
Second of all, Japan doesn’t not care about South China sea at all, they are saying this just because they want to distract china from multiple topics.

Jan 12, 2014 3:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
Tiu wrote:
The wording of the original surrender was unfortunately left open a bit, but I don’t think as much as the Japanese are pushing.

The Cairo Declaration was a statement of intention. The Allies, however, did not recognize that the Cairo Declaration itself affected any transfer of Taiwan’s sovereignty to China.[3][4] However, by signing the Instrument of Surrender (2 Sep 1945), Japan specifically accepted the terms of the Potsdam declaration, which incorporated by reference the terms of the Cairo Declaration: “We, acting by command of and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan, the Japanese Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, hereby accept the provisions in the declaration issued by the heads of the Governments of the United States, China, and Great Britain 26 July 1945 at Potsdam, and subsequently adhered to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which four powers are hereafter referred to as the Allied Powers.” [5] The Potsdam Declaration (26 Jul 1945) stipulated that: “(8) The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out AND Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.”[6]

A declassified CIA report written in March 1949 claimed that Taiwan was not part of the Republic of China, and therefore there had been no internationally recognized transfer of Taiwan’s territorial sovereignty to China as a result of the Cairo Declaration or the Potsdam Declaration.[7]

Jan 12, 2014 6:06am EST  --  Report as abuse
Free_Pacific wrote:
Imagine this… You awake in the morning on the island you and your family live on. You are fisherman, who make a living from the sea. Now, according to China, as soon as you get in your boat and leave the shore, you are breaking Chinese law and are liable for arrest (abduction). There is whole communities now surrounded by China’s so called ‘Indisputable Sovereignty’, they are effectively under siege. All island dwellers in the pacific should see this for the alarming monstrosity that it is.

Jan 12, 2014 6:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
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