Old Japan-China dispute over islands clouds Asia-Pacific summit
The escalation of a long-running dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands threatens to disrupt the Asia-Pacific summit. Image: CC Wikimedia Commons

Japan and China have been at loggerheads over a disputed island chain in the South China Sea since the 19th century. In September, the Japanese coast guard arrested a Chinese fishing captain in waters near the islands. The incident has increased tensions between Japan and China on the eve of an Asia-Pacific summit later this month.

The Japan/China Senkaku dispute

The territorial dispute in the South China Sea has intensified as China’s growing economic might has emboldened Beijing to increase pressure on Japan over the islands. The territory in question is known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China. China-Japan relations sunk to their lowest point in decades on Sept. 7 when two Japanese patrol ships collided with a Chinese fishing boat. Japan’s arrest of the Chinese captain ignited a sustained campaign of diplomatic protests from Beijing that went on after Japan let the captain go. China demanded that Japan cease patrolling around the island. Japan has shown no indication it will back down.

The Japanese coast guard video

The Japan-China dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands intensified when a video of the coast guard incident was leaked on YouTube. The video, shot by the Japanese coast guard, was suppressed because the Japanese government worried that it would fan the flames of the bitter Japan-China Senkaku dispute. It went public on YouTube Nov. 5. Once the video of the collision and arrest was leaked, it was broadcast widely and repeatedly by Japanese TV. Prosecutors have asked Google, which owns YouTube, to help them find out who uploaded the video. Google said it would cooperate “within the legal scope” of the investigation.

The Asia-Pacific summit

The South China Sea incident has soured Japan-China relations as leaders from 21 nations in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum prepare to meet in Yokohama Nov. 13-14. The Asia-Pacific summit will discuss how to facilitate trade and balanced economic growth in the region, which accounts for more than half the world’s economic output. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan hopes to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao for bilateral talks in Yokohama. China is blaming Japan for creating tensions that rule out the talks. Japanese analysts say a conciliatory China would anger its own citizens, who deeply distrust Japan.


Reuters: http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFTOE6A705Y20101108?pageNumber=3&virtualBrandChannel=0

Asia News: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Russia-and-China-against-Japan-for-dominance-in-the-Pacific-19932.html

AFP: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jmLJaV0Xc2GXMdKptz7Z7_eMx33Q?docId=CNG.74bac5b4cc9462fd7346e1c94b90120a.811

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