BEIJING, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Japan is reportedly considering plans to calm tensions with China by acknowledging Chinese claims to the Diaoyu Islands while maintaining its own position that no official territorial dispute exists over the islands.
This seems to be a compromise from the Japanese government, but it is not a substantial change of attitude regarding the Diaoyu Islands.
China-Japan relations have soured since Japan's purchase of part of the islands in September, jeopardizing regional stability that had been maintained for decades.
The responsibility for the tension and damaged ties lies with Japan.
Japan should realize that admitting an existing dispute over the Diaoyu Islands and returning to the negotiation table are preconditions for improving ties.
How is it possible to solve a problem while ignoring its existence?
Japan's refusal to admit the existing dispute over the Diaoyu Islands defies historical facts.
Be it from a historical, geographical or jurisprudential perspective, the Diaoyu Islands remain an inherent part of Chinese territory. China was the first country to discover, name and administer the Diaoyu Islands.
Japan only came into the picture near the end of the 19th century when, in 1895, it defeated China's Qing Dynasty government and forced the Qing Court to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki, which ceded to Japan "the island of Formosa (Taiwan), together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa."
At the conclusion of World War II, China recovered the territory that had been invaded and occupied by Japan, including Formosa (Taiwan) and its surrounding islands, in accordance with the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation.
But in 1971, the United States signed the Okinawa Reversion Agreement with Japan to return the Ryukyu Islands (known to the Japanese as Okinawa), which were placed under U.S. trusteeship by the Treaty of San Francisco.
The 1971 agreement arbitrarily expanded the jurisdiction of the Ryukyu Islands to include the Diaoyu Islands, which were part of the island of Formosa (Taiwan). The Japanese government now refers to the Okinawa Reversion Agreement as evidence to justify its claim to the Diaoyu Islands.
China has firmly opposed this backroom deal between Japan and the U.S. since then.
To solve the dispute, Japan needs to face history. The Japanese government has not only denied the dispute, but also refused to acknowledge an agreement to shelve the dispute reached by the former leaders of the two countries in the 1970s.
Forty years ago, when China and Japan normalized their diplomatic relations, former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka agreed that priority should be placed on the overall interests of bilateral ties, with the Diaoyu Islands dispute to be shelved until a later date.
This tacit agreement was reiterated by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1978 during his talks with former Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda. The following year, China formally proposed setting aside the dispute and seeking joint development of resources located adjacent to the Diaoyu Islands without touching upon its territorial sovereignty.
The political wisdom shown by generations of leaders from both sides has contributed to the advancement of Sino-Japanese ties, but this hard-won progress has been severely undermined by Japan's unilateral moves.
Japan's refusal to admit the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands not only ignores historical facts, but may also isolate the country. Its closest ally, the United States, has taken a neutral stance on the issue, for instance.
In late September, the United States Congressional Research Service amended and republished a report titled "The Senkaku Islands Dispute: U.S. Treaty Obligations."
"During Senate deliberations on whether to consent to the ratification of the Okinawa Reversion Treaty, the State Department asserted that the United States took a neutral position with regard to the competing claims of Japan, China and Taiwan, despite the return of the islands to Japanese administration," the report states.
Although it's not easy for the two countries to reach a consensus on their stances over the Diaoyu Islands, it is necessary for both sides to think more of their common interests, rather than confrontation.
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi here on Thursday strongly urged Japan to stop violating China's territorial sovereignty, accusing that Japan "stole" China's Diaoyu Islands. Full story
BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun on Thursday confirmed that Chinese naval ships have carried out patrolling and military training in waters off the Diaoyu Islands recently.
Yang's confirmation was made in response to a media request following reports by Japanese media last week of two Chinese naval frigates navigating waters off the Diaoyu Islands. Full story
BEIJING, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's speech on Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly, in which he emphasized respect for the international rule of law in resolving territorial issues, looks speculative, or to a larger extent, deceptive to observers, given its history of relentless invasion of neighbors.
That the Japanese government chose to play the international-law card at a moment of lingering disputes with China over the Diaoyu Islands exposed its intention to manipulate international vox populi after failing to push China back via unilateral actions such as "purchasing" and landing on the islets. Full story
BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- The sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands has been settled by history and international laws, but not in the way Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda claimed in New York on Wednesday.
The Diaoyu Islands have been China's sacred territory since ancient times -- a claim supported by historical facts and jurisprudential evidence. Full story
BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- China was outraged by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's remarks to reporters at the UN General Assembly, and has urged Japan to cease immediately all actions that infringe China's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
"China is strongly disappointed and sternly opposes the Japanese leader's obstinacy regarding his wrong position on the Diaoyu Islands issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a written statement on Thursday. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Wednesday bragged about his country's compliance with international law in settling disputes, a move dismissed by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman as "self-deceiving."
Noda devoted much of his speech at the general debate of the UN General Assembly to the rule of law. Full story