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Facts of the Issue of Diaoyu Islands

The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have been China's sacred territory since ancient times. This is supported by historical facts and jurisprudential evidence. The Diaoyu Islands were first discovered, named and exploited by the Chinese people. Chinese fishermen had long been engaged in production activities on these islands and in their adjacent waters. The Diaoyu Islands have been put under the jurisdiction of China's naval defense as affiliated islands of Taiwan, China since the Ming Dynasty. China is the indisputable owner of the Diaoyu Islands.

For quite some time, Japan has been creating troubles and making waves on the issue of Diaoyu Islands. This year alone, the Japanese government has named some of Diaoyu Island's affiliated islands; some members of the Japanese Diet went "angling" in the waters of Diaoyu Islands; right-wingers landed on the island and staged the farce of a so-called "ceremony to mourn the victims of war". On 10 September, the Japanese government announced the "purchase" of the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated Nan Xiaodao and Bei Xiaodao and the implementation of the so-called "nationalization" of the islands regardless of repeated strong representations of the Chinese side. This constitutes a gross violation of China's sovereignty over its own territory and is highly offensive to the 1.3 billion Chinese people. It seriously tramples on historical facts and international jurisprudence. The Chinese government and people express firm opposition to and strong protest against the Japanese move.

Japan has dished out numerous fallacies on the so-called "purchase of the islands" in an attempt to cover up the truth and mislead public opinion. We explain here in greater depth the real ownership and history of Diaoyu Islands and let the world see the truth on the issue of Diaoyu Islands. Japan's fallacies can be summed up as the following four points.

First, Japan claims that Diaoyu Islands is "terra nullius". This is completely groundless. Abundant historical documents show that Diaoyu Island and other islands were first discovered, named and exploited by the Chinese people. Before the 15th century, some businessmen and fishermen in China's Southeast coast used Diaoyu Islands as a mark for navigation and the Chinese have engaged in production activities on these islands and in their adjacent waters. Since the early years of the Ming Dynasty, Diaoyu Island and other islands have been put under the jurisdiction of China's coastal defense. Chinese envoys to the Ryukyu Kingdom during the Ming and Qing dynasties clearly recorded in their diaries that the Diaoyu Islands were part of the Chinese territory and that only areas beyond these islands fell into the territory of Ryukyu. Japan and the international community had recognized the Diaoyu Islands as part of China in explicit terms. The Japanese maps published prior to the mid-19th century had marked the Diaoyu Islands and China's mainland with the same color, and even the Maps and Names of Provinces and Cities in Japan published in 1892 did not include the Diaoyu Islands in the Japanese territory. The relevant 19th century documents and maps from Western powers such as Britain, France, the United States and Spain also acknowledged that the Diaoyu Islands belonged to China. A map on China's East Coast form Hong Kong to the Liaodong Bay, compiled by the British Navy in 1877, identified the Diaoyu Islands as being affiliated to China's Taiwan and distinctly separated them from Japan's Nansei Islands, or the Ryukyu Islands. This map was later on widely referred to international exchanges and was used to demarcate the Penghu Islands during the negotiations of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. The Diaoyu Islands have, therefore, been part of China since ancient times. This is not a baseless or unfounded statement. Rather it has every piece of irrefutable evidence.

Second, Japan claims that there is no territorial dispute between China and Japan. In fact, Japan seized on the first Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895) and illegally occupied Diaoyu Islands. In December 1943, the heads of China, the US and the UK issued the Cairo Declaration in which it was stated that all the territories Japan had stolen from the Chinese should be restored to China. In 1945, it was reiterated in the Potsdam Proclamation that "the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine". In August that year, Japan accepted the Potsdam Proclamation and surrendered unconditionally. In accordance with the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation, China recovered the territories stolen by Japan such as Taiwan and the Penghu Islands. According to international law, the Diaoyu Islands, which are Taiwan's affiliated islands, have been simultaneously returned to China. In 1951, the Treaty of Peace with Japan (commonly known as the Treaty of San Francisco, a treaty partial in nature) was signed between Japan, the United States and some other countries, placing the Ryukyu Islands (known as Okinawa today) under the administration of the United States. In 1953, the Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands under the control of the United States arbitrarily expanded its jurisdiction to include Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands, which are in fact Chinese territories. In 1971, Japan and the United States signed the Okinawa Reversion Agreement, which arbitrarily included Diaoyu Island and other islands in the territories and territorial waters to be reverted to Japan. The Chinese government has, from the very beginning, firmly opposed and never recognized such backroom deals between Japan and the United States concerning Chinese territories. Facts are facts, and history is not to be reversed. Japan's claim that there is no dispute between China and Japan over Diaoyu Islands is an outright denial of the outcomes of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and constitutes a direct challenge to the post-war international order.

Third, Japan claims that there is no common understanding between China and Japan on shelving territorial disputes. This is an out and out lie. During the negotiations on the normalization of China-Japan relations in 1972 and on the signing of the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978, the then leaders of the two countries, bearing in mind the larger interest of China-Japan relations, reached important common understanding on "leaving the issue of Diaoyu Islands to be resolved later". This opened the door to normalization of China-Japan relations and was followed by tremendous progress in China-Japan relations and stability and tranquility in East Asia in the following 40 years. But now the Japanese authorities deny the previous common understanding reached between the two countries. This shows a lack of the very basic integrity of a state and seriously shakes the foundation of political mutual trust between China and Japan.

Fourth, Japan claims that the government is cornered into buying the islands. It says that the government buys the islands in order to avoid damage to China-Japan relations that may be caused by Shintaro Ishihara's purchase of the islands and to keep the situation in Diaoyu Islands "peaceful and stable". This is nothing but a pretext. The fact and the outcome turn out to be that Ishihara first set the stage and put on the farce of "islands purchase", then the Japanese government, with thinly veiled pretexts, echoed and joined him in this farce, one coaxing and the other coercing. Their aim is to strengthen Japan's "legal status" on the issue of Diaoyu Islands. Should there be any truth in the Japanese government's explanations, we cannot but ask: who has the final say in Japan? Who should we be dealing with? If the Japanese side keeps making trouble this way, how can one expect a "stable" situation in Diaoyu Islands?

The Chinese government has always attached importance to developing relations with Japan. China and Japan and the Chinese and Japanese peoples can live together only in friendship, not confrontation. To advance the China-Japan strategic relationship of mutual benefit serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples and is conducive to peace, stability and development of the region. Yet, to ensure sound and stable development of China-Japan relations, the Japanese side needs to work together and move in the same direction with China. The "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands by the Japanese government runs counter to the goal of upholding the larger interest of China-Japan relations.

The Chinese government solemnly states that the Japanese government's so-called "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands is totally illegal and invalid. It does not change, not even in the slightest way, the historical fact of Japan's occupation of Chinese territory, nor will it alter China's territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands. Long gone are the days when the Chinese nation was subject to bullying and humiliation from others. The Chinese government will not sit idly by watching its territorial sovereignty being infringed upon. The Chinese side strongly urges the Japanese side to immediately stop all actions that may undermine China's territorial sovereignty. Japan should truly come back to the very understanding and common ground reached between the two sides, and should return to the track of negotiated settlement of the dispute. Should the Japanese side insist on going its own way, it shall have to bear all serious consequences arising therefrom.

To see more information:  http://nl.china-embassy.org/eng/zggk/zt/dydwt/


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