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Japan's naming farce can't change China's sovereignty over Diaoyu Islands

In a move that certainly angered China, Japan announced Friday that it gave names to 158 remote islets, including five islets belonging to China's Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

It is not the first time that Japan attempted to justify its grab of China's Diaoyu Islands by telling the world that "it is naming the islands," even though they were already named.

In March 2012, then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's cabinet arbitrarily decided to name 39 uninhabited islets, including seven in the Diaoyu Islands.

Beijing was quick to respond. Just one day later, the Chinese government announced on the official website of the State Oceanic Administration that it had named 71 islands, reiterating that the Diaoyu Islands have been part of China since old times.

Japan may believe that giving names to those islets is a show of its sovereignty, but it has to be reminded that those islets have already got a Chinese name.

The earliest record of the names of the Diaoyu Islands can be found in the book of Voyage with a Tail Wind (Shun Feng Xiang Song) published in 1403, the first year of the reign of Emperor Yongle of China's Ming Dynasty.

It shows that China had already discovered and named the Diaoyu Islands by the 14th and 15th centuries. Based on the historical facts, China should be the undisputable owner of them.

"Japan's unilateral measure is illegal and invalid and cannot change the fact that the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are part of China's territory," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement hours after Japan's provocative move.

China-Japan relations have soured since the Japanese government's "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands in September 2012. Regarding this issue, China never closes the door of negotiation and sincerely hopes to remove the political obstacles that hinder the development of bilateral ties.

However, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the one hand says he wants to improve relations strained by territorial and security issues, while on the other hand continuously undermines bilateral ties.

Visiting the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, reviewing the "Kono Statement", lifting the self-imposed ban on collective self-defense right as well as naming the islands belonging to China, all such moves by Japan have angered and caused deep concerns from its neighboring countries.

If Japan really wants to mend its ties with China and South Korea, the Abe administration should stop its double-dealing tactics and take real steps to win back trust from neighboring countries.

[Source: By Xinhua writer Zhu Chao, Liu Xiuling, Xinhua, Tokyo, 03Aug14]

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East China Sea Conflict
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