Japan to highlight 'flip-flops' in China's claim of Senkaku Islands in bid to drum up international support
The Japanese Government is planning to highlight inconsistencies in China's territorial claim over the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in a bid to drum up international support for its case, Foreign Ministry officials have said.
The officials said that the government would aim to disprove China's assertion that it has long claimed the East China Sea islets by stressing that 'Beijing did not lodge any formal protest over their sovereignty until the early 1970s'.
"The Chinese side's greatest contradiction" is that Beijing did not object to Japan's jurisdiction over the uninhabited islet group until the 1970s, a government source said, the Japan Times Reports.
The diplomatic initiative comes shortly after the Japanese Government shifted its public relations policy to be more proactive in promoting Japan's position on the territorial rift, in response to China's growing assertiveness over the islets, which it calls Diaoyu.
According to the paper, the Foreign Ministry officials said China only laid claim to them after a group of Japanese, South Korean and Taiwanese experts in 1968 conducted surveys for a U.N. body that suggested petroleum resources exist in the East China Sea, including near the Senkaku group. Their report was released the following year.
While Japan incorporated the Senkaku Islands as part of Okinawa Prefecture in 1895, China made no protests over the matter until December 1971, the officials pointed out.
To further promote this point, the government will also cite a 1953 article in China's state-run People's Daily titled "Battle of people in the Ryukyu Islands against the U.S. occupation," in which the isles are referred to as "Senkaku" rather than "Diaoyu," the paper said.
Previously, the Japanese Government had been reluctant to publicize the dispute, given its official position that the islets are an integral part of Japan and that their sovereignty is not in dispute, the paper added.