NAIROBI, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Indisputable historical records showed the Diaoyu Islands had been an inherent part of the Chinese territory since time immemorial, Kenyan daily The People said Sunday.
"There is every legal basis to support this claim," the paper said in a signed article under the heading, "Who between China and Japan really owns the Diaoyu Islands?"
"Historically, the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets had been part of the Chinese territory until 1895, when Japan illegally seized them," the article said.
"Historical evidence also shows that the Diaoyu Island and its adjacent islets were first discovered, named, exploited and developed by the Chinese people. Chinese merchants and fishermen from the coastal regions of Southeast China had used the Diaoyu Islands as navigation markers even before the 15th Century," it said.
"The islands have appeared on China's map since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), more than 400 years before Japan claimed the discovery of the islands in 1884," the article said.
The paper further noted, "Until recently, none of Japan's official historical accounts, national records or academic papers had ever challenged China's territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands."
China insisted on resolving the dispute through diplomatic negotiations based on facts, while Japan seemed hell-bent on pursuing a unilateral method, the article said, adding, "Japan's seemingly hardline stance has severely complicated the prospects of a peaceful settlement to the matter."
The article said observers and analysts had pointed out Japan's economic interests and politicians' personal ambitions were the root cause of the renewed territorial dispute.
"The Japanese ocean exploration strategy is at the core of the escalating tensions between Japan and her neighbors. Japan has sped up its pace of exploring ocean resources in recent years, especially after Yoshihiko (Noda) became Prime Minister. The PM has stressed that Japan's top strategy for reinvigorating his country's economy is exploitation of the ocean," the article said.
Japan's so-called "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands was "an act of extreme provocation," the paper said. "Such daredevil games can only intensify tensions over the islands and damage the development of economic and trade relations between Japan and China."