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Commentary: Japan playing with fire over Diaoyu Islands   2012-07-11 07:49:00

  Here comes a new episode in Japan's farcical ambitions to "buy" the "Senkaku Islands," or China's Diaoyu Islands.

  This time, the Japanese government seems ready to take the place of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara and play a leading role in the drama, which will undoubtedly harm Sino-Japanese relations further.

  Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters on Saturday that he's considering "nationalizing" part of the islands to strengthen Japan's "control" over them.

  The Japanese government's following suit with Ishihara, who initiated the farce in April, is no more than playing with fire regarding the sensitive issue of territorial disputes between China and Japan.

  Indisputable historical and jurisprudential evidence shows that "the Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islets have been inherent parts of Chinese territory since ancient times," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in response to Japan's latest move.

  "China's holy territory is not allowed to be bought or sold by anyone. The Chinese government will continue to take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty," Liu pointed out.

  Disregarding the risk of impairing the bilateral relationship, the Japanese government made the announcement, unilaterally and arbitrarily, which not only went against the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, but also will leave less room for policy-making on the Diaoyu Islands issue and worsen the already complicated situation there.

  Observers say the reasons for Japan's move lie in its domestic difficulties.

  With frequent shifts of leadership in the country in recent years, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan saw a serious split earlier this month as the Noda administration pushed for the passage of a tax hike bill to bolster the sluggish economy.

  The Japanese government's proposal to "buy" the Diaoyu Islands at such a time will not only cater to the rising right-wing forces and help create "evidence" for the country's "control" over the islands, but also serves to transfer the people's dissatisfaction from internal to international affairs.

  However, it will never help to find solutions to domestic problems by escalating tensions with China. On the contrary, the move will only do harm to bilateral ties as well as regional stability, and ultimately to Japan's own interests.

  The importance of bilateral relations between China and Japan has been acknowledged by all parties. As Noda said during his visit to China at the end of last year, enhancing mutual political trust between the two neighbors is an important foundation for the ties. With such words and deeds, however, where can mutual trust be found?

  Japan should stop playing with fire on the Diaoyu Islands issue.

source : Xinhua     editor:: Diana
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