Tokyo should mend its provocative ways

China Daily
Li Jiayao
2024-04-30 11:38:29

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addresses a joint meeting of Congress, as US Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) listen, at the US Capitol in Washington, US, April 11, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

By Li Yang

China has enough reasons to lodge solemn representations to Japan, as it did on Sunday, after five Japanese lawmakers trespassed on Friday into waters near China's Diaoyu Islands allegedly for a maritime "inspection".

The lawmakers, including former defense minister Tomomi Inada, were reportedly conducting an inspection tour organized by the city of Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture. Their irresponsible action is undoubtedly a deliberate provocation to Beijing. According to the Chinese embassy in Japan, the China Coast Guard has taken necessary measures to deal with the issue in accordance with the law.

The Diaoyu Islands are an inherent part of China's territory since ancient times. The archipelago that Japan invaded decades before World War II should have been returned to China immediately after Japan's unconditional surrender in 1945 according to relevant historical files.

But Tokyo handed over the Diaoyu Islands to the US military that year on the pretext that the islands were under the jurisdiction of Okinawa. The Diaoyu Islands were subsequently used as a shooting range for the US military. In 1970, the US handed over jurisdiction over Okinawa to Japan, "giving" it the Diaoyu Islands.

Yet China's determination and will to safeguard its territorial integrity and sovereignty and maritime rights are unwavering. China strongly urges Japan to stop all political provocations, on-site disturbances and media hype, and return to the correct track of managing differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation to avoid further escalation of the situation. That the CCG's patrols in the waters around the islands have become a regular practice means China is able to deal with the Japanese side's provocations.

The Fumio Kishida government's one-sided pro-US diplomacy downgrades Japan into a proxy in Washington's geopolitical game in the Asia-Pacific. That blind gambling threatens to derail the otherwise healthy development of Sino-Japanese relations, which harms the common interests of both sides and the region.

That the Diaoyu Islands did not become an obstacle to the two countries normalizing their diplomatic ties and promoting economic and trade cooperation is thanks to the political wisdom demonstrated by both sides in shelving their differences for the common development of the two countries.

But if Japan is determined to unilaterally discard that consensus and throw its weight behind the US' China-containment strategy, it should realize that no one is allowed to violate China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and China remains steadfast in safeguarding its lawful rights. If Tokyo turns a deaf ear to the Chinese side and continues to sabotage China-Japan ties, it will be held accountable for the dire situation its irresponsible behavior will cause.

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