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Global Times

US would love to see tensions in Asia around Diaoyu Islands: expert

Global Times

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/22 20:50:27

A Japanese local government's bill approved on Monday to change the administrative designation of the disputed Diaoyu Islands can't change China's sovereignty and control over the islands, as Chinese Coast Guard vessels still conducted patrol missions in the territorial waters of the islands the same day, experts said, noting that the bill would not affect the status quo much.

The city council of Inshigaki, Okinawa Prefecture on Monday approved the bill to change the administrative designation of the area containing the so-called Senkaku Islands, China's Diaoyu Islands, from Tonoshiro to Tonoshiro Senkaku, Japan's Asahi Shimbun reported, noting the name will change on October 1.

The China Coast Guard said after the bill's approval that its ships patrolled the territorial waters of the Diaoyu Islands on Monday, and experts said more routine patrols can be expected.

The bill is unlikely to have a major impact on the status of the waters surrounding the islands, and the Japanese government will be reluctant to see new issues interrupt the recovery of its ties with China, Chinese observers said.

However, the US, which is in trouble with protests and a devastating COVID-19 epidemic, would love to see the territorial dispute in the West Pacific and new troubles to interrupt China-Japan ties, so it could influence political forces in Japan to create trouble, Chinese analysts noted.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, blasted Japan's audacity at a routine press conference a few hours after the proposal was approved on Monday, saying the Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. Japan's move is a serious provocation against China's sovereignty.

"The bill is illegal, invalid and can't change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China… China has made solemn representations to Japan through diplomatic channels, and reserves the right to further respond," Zhao said, noting China is firmly determined to safeguard its sovereignty.

Lü Yaodong, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Japanese Studies, told the Global Times on Monday that Japan has a history of playing tricks on disputed territories with other countries, as they hope to nibble away at the Diaoyu Islands.

Japan has sovereign disputes with many countries. Russia in 2019denounced Japan's move of marking the disputed territories as Japanese territory on a map of the Tokyo Olympic Games website. The South Korean government also protested over Japan's labeling of the disputed Dokdo Islands, known as Takeshima in Japan, as Japanese territory in a roadmap for the Torch relay of Tokyo Olympic Games, Xinhua reported.

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Monday that the Chinese and Japanese governments have a tacit understanding on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands, and neither side hopes that the Diaoyu Islands row affects the overall stability of relations.

"Perhaps the US is the one most willing to see the discord between the East Asian countries," Li said. "Closer cooperation between China and Japan would dilute US influence in the West Pacific. By creating trouble for China through Japan, it would reinforce its position in the region. The US element can never be ruled out."

Japan's actions cannot change China's position or the status of the dispute over Diaoyu Islands, but Tokyo should pay close attention to such acts initiated by local governments which could threaten the stability of East Asia, Li said.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press briefing on May 24 that China, Japan and South Korea have worked together to effectively contain the spread of the coronavirus in East Asia. China will ramp up free trade negotiations with the other two countries and strive to sign the regional comprehensive economic partnership agreement by the end of the year, Chinanews.com reported.

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