China dismisses Japan plan to buy disputed islands

Japan considering buying the mineral rich uninhabited islands of Diaoyu in a move which has angered Beijing.


Reuters July 08, 2012
China dismisses Japan plan to buy disputed islands

BEIJING: China's Foreign Ministry said it would continue to take "necessary measures" to safeguard its sovereignty over a number of disputed islands in the East China Sea after Japan said it was considering a plan to "buy" them from private landowners.

 

The uninhabited islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, have long been the centre of maritime territorial disputes between China and its neighbours, all of which cite historical and other claims over fishing areas and potentially rich gas deposits.

 

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Saturday that the government was considering buying the islands, situated in potentially gas rich territory claimed by both Japan and China, in a move likely to anger Beijing.

 

"No one will ever be permitted to buy and sell China's sacred territory," Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a statement issued late on Saturday on the ministry's website, www.mfa.gov.cn.

"China will continue to take necessary measures to firmly uphold its sovereignty over the Diaoyu island and its affiliated islands,"

 

Liu reiterated the islands had been part of Chinese territory since ancient times and China's sovereignty over them was grounded in an indisputable historical and legal basis.

Earlier this year, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara proposed using public funds to buy the islands from private owners, prompting Beijing to denounce the plan as illegal and reassert its sovereignty.

Diplomatic ties between Beijing and Tokyo hit a low point in 2010 after Japan's arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain.

In 2008, Beijing and Tokyo agreed in principle to jointly develop gas fields near the islands, but progress has been slow and Japan has accused China of drilling for gas in violation of the deal.

 

COMMENTS (1)

j. von hettlingen | 11 years ago | Reply Tokyo's governor Shintaro Ishihara, who is a populist and nationalist. He said he was in discussions with the owner about his city buying the disputed islands for - according to rumours - an estimated $500 millions. The islands are owned by a Japanese living near Tokyo. He bought the islands 40 years ago from a man who had inherited them from ancestors who had held them since the 19th Century. Governor Ishihara had enraged the Chinese by denying the Nanjing massacre and called for Japan to tear up its pacifist constitution in response to China's rise and acquire nuclear weapons. Last year, he angered many Japanese and was forced to apologise for saying the earthquake and tsunami were divine retribution for the "egoism" of the Japanese.
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